Zennista Confirmed for 2013 Grafton Cup

Lisa Latta has confirmed her Caloundra Cup winner Zennista will back-up in next week’s Grafton Cup 2013 in Sydney opting not to accept the flying five-year-old for the $150,000 Listed Queensland Cup (3200m) this Saturday.

Last Saturday the Zenno Rob Roy mare scored her first win on Aussie soil when defeating a smart field in the Listed Caloundra Cup (2400m).

The race was run in the mud but the conditions at the Sunshine Coast did little to stop the barnstorming Kiwi.

In just her fifth start down under Zennista scored an easy two and a half length victory over Peter Moody’s European import Voila Ici in the classic run on a Heavy (9) track.

Originally the Riccarton-based Latta was considering backing Zennista, third to Moriarty in the Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m) two back, up seven days later in this weekend’s Queensland Cup over the two miles at Eagle Farm.

However after looking at all the options she has decided to save the 33-start veteran for Thursday week’s lucrative $150,000 Listed 100th Grafton Cup (2350m) which will bring an end to her Australian campaign.

The Grafton Cup offers the same bounty as the Queensland Cup but gives the mare 10 days between runs and is also a more suitable distance with Zennista yet to race over further than 2400m.

“I had a think about it and decided the break of 10 days to the Grafton Cup was the best way to go,” Latta said.

Following their appearance in Sydney Zennista will then head back across the Tasman for a well-earned spell reuniting with Latta who is already home in New Zealand with her partner Bruce Herd taking over the mare’s care in her absence.

“Bruce says he is very happy with her. She pulled up well after Saturday’s race,” Latta said.

“I have never been to Grafton but I have heard a lot about the carnival. We are looking forward to it.

“We will send her down from Brisbane on the morning of the race and Damian Browne will keep the ride.”

Browne replaced New Zealand hoop Leith Innes on Zennista last start.

The only concern then is the weight the mare will be allocated for the Grafton Cup after she did it easy with 55kg at Caloundra.

The Grafton Cup winners’ list has featured plenty of Kiwi gallopers over the years including the likes of Rushcutter, Royal Prince and most recently Castle Heights in 2009.

Following her break back home Zennista is likely to go back into work with an eye on the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival riches possibly including even the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) on the first Tuesday of November.

“We will turn her out for two or three weeks and then get her ready for Melbourne,” Latta said.

“It would be good if she could make the big Cups but there are plenty of other options for her during the spring.”

Nominations for the Grafton Cup Carnival majors including the headline race as well as next Wednesday’s Ramornie Handicap close this Thursday and will be published right here at Races.com.au.

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