Jessica justifies new strategy at Bendigo

Keep The Faith filly Jessica Rose justified a change of strategy by trainers Mat Ellerton and Simon Zahra at the Bendigo stand-alone meeting on Saturday.

Jessica Rose (3f Keep The Faith – Strawberry Rose by Snippets) had scored on debut at Caulfield in December 2010 but had gone nine starts before her latest victory in the $50,000 Bendigo Community Hcp (1000m).

The Flemington based filly led home a Keep The Faith quinella from Sutton Grange filly Incredulous.  Her stablemate Red Rain (Charge Forward) finished another two lengths away in third place.

“She had been running really well in Group company without winning,” Ellerton explained.  “Trying to stretch her out was probably a mistake so we decided to keep her short and sharp this time in.”

Jessica Rose showed the benefits of the new training regime with an encouraging second to Miss Octopussy at Flemington on March 3 before breaking through at Bendigo.  “She balanced up off a pretty hot speed with a well-timed finish,” Ellerton said.  “She’s come back in distance this prep and hopefully she can keep hitting the line.”

Keep The Faith (Sunday Silence) is based at Swettenham Stud and his oldest progeny are only four year-olds.  That first crop has generated 42 individual winners at a 60% strike-rate.  Jessica Rose is a member of his second crop and there have been 26 individual winners to date at a 57% strike-rate.

Jessica Rose was a $17,000 buy for popular owners Barrie and Midge Griffiths at the 2010 Inglis Melbourne Autumn yearling sale.  She is from a winning half-sister to Group 1 stayer Linton.

The Seymour couple will be hoping her residual value increases with some black-type this year.  Ellerton – Zahra Racing has built up a marvellous track record with their mares winning stakes races with Response (Charge Forward), Booklet (Tale Of The Cat) and Royal Commands (Commands).

Barrie and Midge live a stone’s throw from Swettenham Stud.  They have been based at nearby Northwood Park since 1977 and retained a portion of the property after selling up to Sheikh Mohammed six years ago.

Keep the Faith filly pictured at Ellerton-Zahra Racing’s headquarters at Flemington