There is rarely a more optimistic time to be involved in a racehorse than when that galloper is unbeaten.
Everything seems possible, the potential upside is endless, and the downside of defeat – at least for the time being – has been put aside.
A stable can dare to dream, and the Matt Ellerton and Simon Zahra training partnership, along with the connections of improving three-year-old Zac De Boss are in that happy position.
De Boss: Trainers of the “progressive” Zac De Boss are happy with what they see. Credit:Getty Images
They head to Flemington for Saturday's twilight meeting with their son of Zacinto, who made it two wins from two racecourse starts last weekend when winning at Caulfield under Damien Thornton.
Thornton keeps the ride on Saturday, having scored on Zac De Boss in that benchmark 64 handicap, a considerable step-up on his effort first time out of landing, a maiden at Warrnambool eight days before Christmas when Thornton was again in the saddle.
Zahra says that running "Zac" in the 1400-metre Mumm Royale on Saturday is all part of the learning process with a horse that didn't see a racetrack until three weeks ago.
"Obviously the question mark is backing the horse up, it's never been done with him. But he seemed nice and bright throughout the week. He had just a little blow-out yesterday and he just seems nice and bright today and we are happy to head to Flemington," Zahra said on Friday.
If he delivers then, lofty targets could await.
"Depending on his performance on Saturday it will show whether it warrants giving him a freshen up and a late crack at the Guineas and all those sort of races heading into that. But we won't get ahead of ourselves," he said.
Still, Zahra believes the signs are all good. "He's a progressive horse. He's still doing a lot wrong and he's got a great attitude to racing."
The Ellerton-Zahra team traditionally do well in the summer and are adept at placing their horses in off-season races in which they can be more than competitive.
The duo are sharing fifth position on the metropolitan trainers' premiership with 18 winners and 29 minor placegetters from 110 starters. Their win strike rate is 16.4 per cent, and their win and place percentage is over 42, making their runners worthwhile considerations for all exotic punters.
In addition to Zac De Boss, the pair, who are cousins, have six other runners, several of whom are last-start winners.
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