After an eye-catching third in the Victoria Derby earlier this month David Hayes’ fast improving Redoute’s Choice colt Rawnaq will go to open company this Saturday facing some star stayers in the 2012 Zipping Classic.
The headline race at Sandown Racecourse this weekend, the $350,000 Group 2 Deadly Design Zipping Classic (2400m) has this year drawn a diminutive but classy field of just nine hopefuls.
Clear favourite in the Zipping Classic odds at a quote of $2.40 is the rails-drawn Mourayan who comes off a brave seventh to upset winner Green Moon in the iconic Melbourne Cup.
After Mourayan the rest of the Zipping Classic field and market is wide open with six other single-figure hopefuls, the next best fancied of which is Rawnaq.
Drawn one outside the favourite in gate two Rawnaq backed up from a disappointing 12th to Philippi in the Listed UCI Stakes (1800m) on October 6 to run two and a half lengths away third to Fiveandahalfstar as a $100 roughie in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) on November 3.
“Even in trackwork he doesn’t get going until he’s gone over a long trip,” Hayes explained.
“I think 2500m is the minimum distance for him.
“It was a big run. He ran home with some great sectionals, which is always a nice guide.”
Punters won’t get them anywhere near that price for their seventh career start on Saturday, Rawnaq currently paying $6 in the Zipping Classic betting markets.
Having carried 55.5kg in the Derby, Rawnaq may be racing against the older horses this weekend but they will get plenty of weight relief under the weight-for-age conditions due to carry just 50.5kg to Mourayan’s 59kgs.
Rawnaq will also be ridden for the second time by apprentice hoop Chad Schofield, aboard for their dead last finish in the mud at Canterbury back in July, who is a jockey on the way up according to Hayes.
“He will be doing the majority of my riding,” Hayes said.
“He’s a very promising young jockey and as my stable builds up I want to be building with him.
“It’s going to be good timing for me and him.”
While most three-year-olds are sent for a well-earned rest after a run in the Victoria Derby, Hayes has always had one eye on the Group 1 and the other on the Zipping Classic knowing the potential of this young horse.
“It’s not an afterthought. I always planned to run him in the Zipping Classic if he either won or was placed in the Derby,” Hayes said.
If successful on Saturday Rawnaq will be the first three-year-old since Count Recardo in 2004 to win the Sandown Classic.
Only two others in the eight years have tried when Furio and Saddler’s Story finished eighth and eleventh respectively behind Gallant Guru back in 2006.
Looking further ahead Hayes said that the 2013 ATC Australian Derby at Royal Randwick on April 4 next Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival would make a nice second-up target for Rawnaq when they return.
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