Zoustar Heads 2013 Roman Consul Stakes Nominations

Chris Waller’s last start Golden Rose hero Zoustar will have their next start in Saturday’s Roman Consul Stakes 2013 heading the nominations taken for the Epsom Handicap Day feature.

Zoustar

Golden Rose winner Zoustar races in this weekend's Roman Consul Stakes 2013. Photo: Steve Hart.

This year’s edition of the $175,000 Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m) has drawn eight three-year-olds at nomination stage.

Headliner of those eight hopes is Northern Meteor colt Zoustar who is already a Group 1 winner.

After coming close to elite level when half a length away second to Romantic Touch in the JJ Atkins in Brisbane during the winter they hit the big time on September 14.

Overcoming barrier 16 of 16 veteran hoop Jim Cassidy guided the up-and-comer to a nice win over Dissident in the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill.

While Cassidy had the option of going to Melbourne this weekend to partner Caulfield Cup favourite Hawkspur in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m), he’s opted to stay in Sydney for the Roman Consul ride with Zoustar showing his high opinion of the sure-to-be favourite.

“It was a very hard decision but I just wanted to be on him,” Cassidy, who sits on 99 Group 1 wins, told the Newcastle Herald.

“I would have liked to have ridden Hawkspur because the Turnbull is always a great guide to later in the spring, but I had to make a choice.

“There are Group 1s every week at the moment but it is getting it right and Zoustar is a triple X, he is special,” Cassidy said. ”You don’t get the chance to ride a horse like him too often.”

If all goes to plan then Zoustar will be heading to Melbourne themselves later in the season or a shot at the $500,000 Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day, November 2.

There are then two other last start winners nominated for the Roman Consul this year with Peter Snowden’s undefeated Canny Lad gelding Barbed coming off a Randwick win in the Listed Heritage Stakes (1100m) and the Gai Waterhouse-trained Mr Jackman vying for their third on the trot having last won at Wyong over 1350m on September 6.

Other notable hopes include smart Stratum colt Va Pensiero and the Darren Smith-trained Open Book.

Jason Coyle’s Va Pensiero enjoyed back-to-back Group race wins at Rosehill in August taking out the San Domenico Stakes – Run To the Rose double.

They then backed up on September 21 at Randwick and finished fourth in the Heritage Stakes.

Open Book meanwhile won their opening two career starts last month before their good second to Aussies Love Sport in the Group 3 Ming Dynasty Quality (1400m) three weeks back.

See below for all the Roman Consul Stakes 2013 nominations with the final field due out on Wednesday.

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2013 Roman Consul Stakes Nominations

Randwick Racecourse – 05/10/2013

# Horse Trainer Hcp. Rating
1 BARBED Peter Snowden 81
2 FLAK JACKET Grahame Begg 66
3 HAVANA Paul Messara 74
4 LITTLE MISS SMILEY John P Thompson 67
5 MR JACKMAN Gai Waterhouse 70
6 OPEN BOOK Darren Smith 73
7 VA PENSIERO Jason Coyle 92
8 ZOUSTAR Chris Waller 104