Leading trainer Chris Waller has confirmed standout-out spring performer Zoustar will contest the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) in week one of The Championships on April 12th, despite a less-than-convincing first-up performance two weeks ago.
Contesting and winning a Rosehill Gardens barrier trial this morning, albeit a light and easy run, Waller told TVN he is now far more confident of a successful run in the $2.5 million races in just under two weeks’ time.
“Jimmy (Cassidy, jockey) came back and said his trial was perfect” Waller said following the trial this morning.
“That is just what I wanted to hear and we’ll press-on with confidence now.”
Jumping as pre-post favourite and clear market in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) first-up on March 15th, Zoustar was unable to meet the high tempo dictated by eventual champion Appearance, hanging within the pack to finish nearly five lengths off the pace in eighth.
One of the undeniable performers of the entire 2013 racing calendar Zoustar debuted with two strong victories in two-year-old races before finishing an unlucky second to Romantic Touch in the Group 1 J.J Atkins (1600m) on June 8th.
Returning to the track in scintillating form over spring, the talented Northern Meteor colt followed up a competitive run for fourth in the Group 3 Run To The Rose (1200m) with three back-to-back victories in the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m), Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m) and Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) on November 2nd.
Having also been nominated for the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 12th, Waller is confident Zoustar’s proven success over 1200 metres outlines the T.J. Smith as clear target this preparation, ahead of a possible appearance in the Group 2 Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m) just one week later.
Despite his unconvincing return in the Canterbury Stakes, Zoustar is currently featured as outright third favourite in betting markets for the 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes at a quote of $7, behind in-form sprinter Lankan Rupee ($3.60) and Buffering ($6.50).
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