Jul 02, 2017
As their first horse, the triple Group 3 winner Steel Phoenix holds a special place in the hearts of Ralph and Peta Zito and not surprisingly so does his sister, the Jugah mare Te Akau.
Every breeder in the game long term hopes to establish a family that races and breeds on for generations and that is just what the Zito family has done with Te Akau not only the dam of Jayemzed- sire of Leodoro - but also of Tavette, dam of Nesbo.
And Nesbo and Leodoro won consecutive races at Caulfield on Saturday!
"It's all in the genes!" said a happy Ralph Zito who was enjoying one of his biggest days at the races with Leodoro recording a particularly exciting victory in the Ladbrokes Handicap.
Settling last from an outside gate, Leodoro looked to be in a hopeless position hooking out wide into the straight but Beau Mertens knew what he had under him - a horse who has always shown at home that he can dash up with the best of them.
And he put that turn of foot on display on Saturday, charging home over the final stages to record his sixth win from just 20 starts.
"He is flying this horse," Michael Kent enthused.
"He has had ten runs this time in and the only time he has been unplaced has been due to pilot error or bad luck."
"It is so pleasing to see him win, he is a horse with a lovely big stride, he can really gallop."
"It is a big thrill to win on this horse for the boss," said Mertens. "I didn't give him the best of runs last start so it was good of his owners and Mick to put me back on."
"He keeps putting me on nice horses to help me with the premiership and I can't thank him enough."
The winner of over $160,000 in stakes, Leodoro is a thoroughly home-bred product with his owners also racing his sire Jayemzed and his dam White Gold.
A descendant of the legendary Mumtaz Mahal from the same branch that produced the great mare Eight Carat, White Gold is a full sister to the stable's stakes placed metropolitan winner Oronero.
A resident of Tasmania, White Gold has produced a couple of very nice Needs Further fillies whilst Jayemzed, who began his career in Tasmania, is now in Victoria where he has been serving a handful of mares.
"And more are welcome!" Zito said, going on to say that Leodoro's win was a special one.
"We are delighted and relieved. Michael has been adamant from very early that he has 'it'. His stride is exceptional."