Betting for the 2018 Group 1 $700,000 Altus...
David Hayes’ rising eight-year-old Extra Zero gets the chance to join the millionaire’s club this weekend when they look to enter six zero earnings with a victory at Flemington.
A son of Danzero, Extra Zero has to date won $971,160 in prize money over a 53 start career.
They get a chance to cross the magic million dollar marker with the $48,000 first prize on offer to the winner of the $80,000 Comic Court Handicap (2000m) on Saturday.
Allocated the 60kg top weight, Extra Zero will be ridden by apprentice hoop Chad Schofield.
While apprentices can claim in the race, the Cox Plate winning youngster has outridden his claims and so will afford his mount no weight relief.
Drawn in barrier two in the 12-horse field, Extra Zero is currently rated an $8 chance in markets led by the consistent Chris Waller-trained Index Linked ($3).
Despite having won so much in prize money Extra Zero has only actually won four of their starts.
The most recent of those was over Muirfield in the Listed Albury Gold Cup (2000m) back in March last year.
A hefty chunk of their earnings came to them as a three-year-old in the spring of 2009 when they won $270,000 for their second place finish behind Monaco Consul in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m).
Another $100,000 came their way in February of 2010 at Caulfield where they won their first Group race, the Group 2 Autumn Classic (1800m) with the Albury Gold Cup their only other major pay day.
Last start the gelding returned to form with a devastatingly close second behind Electric Fusion at Caulfield in a 2000m Benchmark 96.
That day they were defeated by just a long neck, and the Robert Smerdon-trained winner franked the form with a blistering five and a half length win at Flemington last Saturday over the same distance.
Instructions from Hayes to stable jockey Schofield will to be to have the old warhorse up on the pace this weekend to try and emulate their run from the other week.
“He doesn’t have to lead but he needs to be ridden on the pace,” Hayes told Racing Victoria.
“When he jumped well the other day and then got a soft lead that was why he ran so well.
“He’s got his share of weight but he’s drawn a good barrier and if he jumps well he’ll run well. If he jumps badly he won’t run well.
“He’ll be somewhere in the first three, he may be leading but he doesn’t have to lead.”
While it’s been a while between drinks Hayes said the horse was going as good as ever and wouldn’t be surprised to see them surpass the $1 million mark with a drought breaking victory.
“He’s really enjoying life on the farm and I think he will bring his best form to Flemington,” he said.
“In the last month his track work has been as good as it’s ever been and he’s just got to put a couple of runs together now.
“It’s amazing how you can have an almost $1 milllion-earner and they can be maligned, it’s quite funny really.
“It’s the right time of the year for him he’s in great order so let’s hope it’s his day.”
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