Elvstroem blew out the cobwebs for his upcoming Dubai and England sortie with a grand win in the C.F. Orr Stakes (Aust-I) at Caulfield Feb. 12.
The Danehill colt, known to a legion of race fans as 'Elvis,' downed W.S. Cox Plate (Aust-I) hero Savabeel by a head in a thrilling finish to the $300,0000 (Australian funds) weight-for-age contest. Another Zabeel son, Lad of the Manor, was third a half-length away.
Passable fractions set by the fourth-placed Regal Roller (5-2 favorite) saw the winner run 1:22.85 for the 1,400 meters on a dead (damp) track. Elvstroem (11-4) was parked three-wide just off the speed by Damien Oliver from gate 15. After grabbing the lead in deep stretch they held off Savabeel's late bid.
The fourth grade I success by Elvstroem was the 4-year-old's first under a mile and will enhance his stallion resume. In 24 starts he has won eight races and $3.75 million for breeders/owners Frank Tagg, Frank Meduri, and Garry Moffitt.
Elvstroem and Savabeel were appearing for the first time in 2005; Elvis ran fourth to Makybe Diva in the Melbourne Cup (Aust-I), the year younger colt second to Plastered in the Victoria Derby (Aust-I)
The Nad Al Sheba target for Elvstroem on Wold Cup day, March 26, is the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I).
Dual Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva also resumed in the Orr and rushed home late to get within a couple of lengths of the winner in seventh of 15. It was an imposing return to racing for the winner of over $7 million. Desert King's best mobile advertisement is scheduled to contest the Tenno Sho (Jpn-I) in Tokyo May 1. She is unbeaten in three races over the distance of the Fuchu race -- 3,200 meters. Owner Tony Santic is keen to take her to Tokyo because his fishing company exports a lot of tuna to Japan.
The Diva and Elvis are to again match motors in the St. George Stakes (Aust-II) Feb 26.