Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Defending champion Zero Rock is ready to go back-to-back in the Travel Associates Classic 2011 at Eagle Farm on Saturday, Kelso Wood’s resuming mare to benefit from the set weights plus penalties condition of the Brisbane black-type.
Danzero six-year-old Zero Rock was last seen finishing sixth to multiple Group 1 winner Yosei in the Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 25.
It was the culminating run of what had been a very nice Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival for Zero Rock, who ran three other Group race placings that prep including her gallant second to Sincero in the Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
Given a lengthy rest after her testing winter campaign, Zero Rock resumes on Saturday defending her title in the $80,000 Listed Travel Associates Classic (1200m) for fillies and mares at Eagle Farm.
A winner of 10 of her 25 career starts to date for over $840,000 in prize money, Zero Rock won last year’s edition of the Travel Associates Classic second-up, going on to win the Listed Lough Neagh Stakes (1350m) at her next start.
All reports from camp Zero Rock are that she is ready to return to the track and should put in a strong performance on Saturday.
While there were 19 Travel Associates Classic nominations taken on Monday, the final field is likely to be much smaller as many of the five New South Wales-trained entries including Gerald Ryan’s in-form four-year-old Mrs Onassis are a better chance of staying in Sydney for Saturday’s Festival Stakes Day races at Rosehill.
Under the conditions of the Eagle Farm race, Zero Rock will carry 57.5kg which is just three kilos over the limit and a much nicer scenario compared to a handicap race where she would be weighted at least 8.5kg more than her Saturday rivals.
This is one of the main reasons why Ryan is leaning towards remaining in Sydney for a Benchmark 85 Handicap at Rosehill on the weekend with Mrs Onassis who has been dually nominated across two states as have fellow Travel Associates Classic – Rosehill entries Dystophia, Cheap Thrills and My Cookie Monster.
“I’m leaning to staying in Sydney,” Ryan said.
“Under the conditions, she’s a Class 3 horse and might be too close to some of the better ones like Zero Rock.
“She has always shown the ability, but she just had trouble on wet tracks and she was a bit slow maturing.”
Ryan did say that if not on Saturday, a later trip to Queensland for the Brisbane summer races could still be on the cards for Mrs Onasiss who is undefeated this season having won a 1000 metre sprint at Hawkesbury first-up on November 3 by an impressive four lengths before her last-start win over fellow Travel Associates Classic entry Redhandedjill in a 1100 metre Benchmark 75 at Canterbury on November 11.
“There’s a couple of other races coming up in Brisbane that are straight out handicaps and I could take her up for those,” he said.
The other highlight race at Eagle Farm this Saturday is the $80,000 Listed Tattersall’s Recognition Stakes (1600m) attracted 15 nominations led by the Robert Heathcote-trained Brisbane Handicap winner Fillydelphia.
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