Fresh Booker key to Goodwood

Talented sprinting mare Booker will jump from barrier 15 for the Group 1 Goodwood on Saturday but co-trainer Simon Zahra isn’t too fazed by the visitor’s draw.

The four-year-old won the G1 Oakleigh Plate back in February from barrier 14 when carrying 52kg and now returns to the races after two months on the sidelines.

In The Goodwood, Booker must share top weight with Sangster Stakes-winning mare Spright, but Zahra explains he takes extra confidence from her first-up record.

“All her form has suggested her fresh record is her best, even her first two runs,” Zahra said on Tuesday.


“She didn’t come out of the Newmarket Handicap like we’d hoped, so we gave her a few weeks up at the farm on the grass just to recover.

“We’ve had a perfect prep since she’s returned back to the stables, she had a couple of nice jumpouts and she’ll have a good gallop on the grass tomorrow morning and that should just tighten her up for Saturday.

“She’s in great shape and didn’t lose a lot of residual fitness from that freshen up, she’s forward enough to run a big race.”

Booker will be ridden by a jockey she’s had a good association with in the past, combining to win two Stakes races when she was a three-year-old.

“We’ve got Dwayne Dunn aboard, he rides Adelaide extremely well, if we can get a good run in transit, we’re in with a good chance,” Zahra explained.

“We’ll just let her find her feet, I think she is better ridden with cover to go to sleep and then she can build from the 600m.

“Once she gets to her top, her sectionals are outstanding.”

Given Booker has not had a strenuous autumn campaign by any means, Zahra says the option to head north for the Queensland Carnival remains open.

“Maybe Queensland (next) if she performs well on Saturday,” he said.

“A race like the Stradbroke (is an option), she only had two runs earlier in the autumn so she’s not over-raced for this campaign, and if she goes up there she can have a good spell up there as well.”