Trainer Bjorn Baker is confident his veteran sprinter Zaratone is well weighted for a shot at their better fancied rivals in Saturday’s Starlight Stakes 2013 in Sydney.
The Zariz eight-year-old was last seen running a second-up third, beaten a length, by Heart Testa in a benchmark 95 over the same track (Rosehill) and distance (1100m) as this weekend’s $100,000 Listed Starlight Stakes.
Winner of that race, the Chris Waller-trained Heart Testa, has opened top of the Starlight Stakes odds at a quote of $3 after coming up trumps with the rails run from gate one.
The in-form Teta Rossa four-year-old, after their seventh win from 13 career starts, however has the weights against them this time round.
Last start Zaratone carried a hefty 60.5kg, the winner Heart Testa getting the job done with 57kg on their back.
On the weekend for the rematch the great grey Zaratone, a $6.50 chance in Starlight Stakes betting, drops down to 58kg this time meeting Heart Testa just 1.5kg worse in the weights (instead of 3.5kg).
That’s just enough of an advantage according to Baker that can see them turn the tables on their last start conqueror and post their 17th win at start number 54.
“I see they’ve (the bookmakers have) made Heart Testa the favourite at a pretty short quote,” he said.
“That good because we meet him two kilos better at the weights and my bloke is fitter than last start.
“Heart Testa was fourth-up on that occasion whereas Zaratone was only second-up.”
That fitness is what could give them the edge on Saturday too, although Baker does have plenty of respect for his competition.
“He likes to roll and is better ridden that way. He takes other horses outside their comfort zone but to do that and be successful you need a fit horse,” Baker said of Zaratone.
“I’ve got the ultimate respect for Chris Waller as he’s a master at improving horses and keeping them in the zone and Heart Testa is definitely there.
“At the end of the day we’ve got to turn the tables but I’d like to think we’re in a good position to do so.”
Also working in Zaratone’s favour is their good Rosehill record, and the pairing of them with jockey Kathy O’Hara who has been aboard for all but one of their runs this year.
“His record is really good at Rosehill, especially over the trip,” O’Hara told AAP this week.
“It’s his pet distance and his pet track and he ran really well there last start.”
O’Hara first rode the galloper in the 2011 Starlight Stakes when Zaratone broke their black type winning maiden making Saturday’s race of particular importance.
“I love the horse. He is one of my favourites,” she said.
“He is such an honest horse and we’ve had lots of luck together and won a couple of stakes races.
“He will be spot on for Saturday.”
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