Brooks stable unbeatable

Duke Of Oz (Sam Collett) completing a successful day for trainer Mark Brooks at Avondale today.

Duke Of Oz (Sam Collett) completing a successful day for trainer Mark Brooks at Avondale today.

The rain and downgrading of the Avondale track didn’t stop Cambridge trainer Mark Brooks enjoying a 100 per cent strike rate today.

Brooks had to wait until race eight on the 10-race programme to compete at the Avondale meeting and after watching El Fernando score a decisive win in that event, the West Brook Winery 2100, he also picked up the final contest, the Goodwin Property Management Maiden, in similar convincing style with his other runner, Duke Of Oz.

El Fernando, a four-year-old son of El Hermano, had hinted a win was close at hand when a close second to Sacred Empire on the same track 13 days earlier. That placing came in his third attempt over ground and he had no trouble successfully handling the 2100 metres today.

El Fernando proving too strong on another trip to Auckland.

El Fernando proving too strong in the wet at Avondale today.

Ridden by Craig Grylls, El Fernando settled midfield and three-wide and had three behind him at the 1200 metres before improving widest coming to the home turn.

Once balanced in the straight he unleashed a strong finish down the outer and kicked away from the runner-up Maytra Dee in the closing stages to score by a length and a quarter on the track which had been downgraded to a Slow7.

It was the second win for the Frank and Faye Drummond-bred and owned chestnut gelding with his other win also coming on a trip to Auckland, when successful over 1600 metres at Ellerslie last December on a Good3 surface.

Duke Of Oz was ridden in similar fashion by Sam Collett in the final event. He settled last, improved wide from the 600 to be up challenging the widest on the home turn, and finished determinedly down the outside, drawing clear to win by two and a quarter lengths from fellow Cambridge galloper, Smiling Touch (trained by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman).

Duke Of Oz was having his fourth start and had shown a glimpse of talent when fourth behind Masu two starts earlier at Ruakaka over 1400 metres.

He stepped up to 1600 at Ellerslie a fortnight ago and, though he only finished ninth of 16 starters, he was doing his best work over the final stages and wound up four lengths from the winner, Ulysses.