Brooks adds to Drummonds’ joy

El Luchador (Sam Collett) powering to a convincing win at Pukekohe last Saturday.

El Luchador (Sam Collett) powering to a convincing win at Pukekohe last Saturday.

Cambridge trainer Mark Brooks has given South Waikato owner-breeders Frank and Faye Drummond the prospect of an even more exciting start to next year.

Brooks has saddled up two winners for the Drummonds in the past week with El Fernando winning at Avondale last Tuesday and El Luchador scoring at Pukekohe last Saturday. Both horses won in good style and look stayers with bright futures.

The promise shown by El Fernando and El Luchador is no surprise to Brooks or the Drummonds as already they have been entered for feature races.

El Fernando and El Luchador have been nominated for the $80,000 Dunstan Stayers’ Championship and Gr.3 $200,000 Laser Plumbing Te Puke City Of Auckland Cup, both at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day, and also the Gr.1 $500,000 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup on March 17. El Fernando is also nominated for the Gr.2 Wallaceville Wellington Cup.

In the case of El Luchador, who took his record to four wins and three placings from 14 starts when comfortably beating the favourite He’s Dan in the Mount Shop 2400 last Saturday, it could be a case of Cups contention.

“Whether we go for the Dunstan Feeds or aim a bit higher (on New Year’s Day) will depend on the weather and how he goes between now and then,” said Brooks after watching Sam Collett return to the winner’s stall on El Luchador. “He definitely likes a bit of rain and the track was perfect for him today.”

El Luchador was given a nice run one-out in third spot by Collett and improved on the home turn to be challenging for the lead soon after. He hit the front inside the final 300 metres and drew ahead to win by two and a quarter lengths.

El Luchador completed a 100 percent strike rate for the Drummonds with their three runners in seven days as El Bayardo, trained at Opaki by Polly Macdonald, had started the ball rolling the previous Sunday at Waverley.

All three winners are by El Hermano, the unraced half-brother to the 2007 Cox Plate winner El Segundo who stands at the Drummonds’ Cheval Stud at Pukeatua.

El Pescado, another of the El Hermano stock bred and raced by the Drummonds, added further to the fun times they are having when, a day before El Bayardo scored at Waverley, he was runner-up to Abidewithme in the Gr.2 Preston Rowe Paterson Property Valuers Tauranga Stakes.

El Luchador wasn’t the only thrill for the Drummonds at Pukekohe last Saturday as El Pistola, yet another of their home-bred El Hermano progeny, was runner-up in the Gr.3 Ssangyong Counties Cup for Tokoroa trainers Nathan Hanley and Kylie Whiting.

El Pistola is also entered for the Laser Plumbing Te Puke City Of Auckland Cup and the Gr.1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup, as is yet another of the El Hermano progeny, Laddie Of Oakview, who is trained by Graeme Sanders and Debbie Sweeney and was bred by Roto-rangi farmer Allan Hayward and is raced by his parents.

Hayward bred and races both Laddie Of Oakview’s older brother Farm Boy, a Group One placegetter whose best win came in the Gr.2 Go Racing Syndications Avondale Gold Cup last year, and his half-brother Battle Time, a multiple Group One placegetter and last-start winner of the Gr.2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile at Riccarton for Cambridge trainers Tim and Margaret Carter.