The Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained improver Zephyron proved their staying potential today with an easy win in the $125,000 Group 3 Channel Seven Premier’s Cup (2200m) ahead of the Brisbane Cup 2014 next month.
Posting their fifth career win at start number 15, the step up to 2200m at Doomben Racecourse on 10,000 Day proved exactly what the Zabeel five-year-old had been looking for.
Lightly raced for their age despite being on the cusp of their sixth birthday, Zephyron is proving to be what so many Hawkes’ stayers are, a late bloomer.
This preparation has by far been their best, Zephyron progressing from a first-up eighth at Rosehill over 1200m in a BenchMark 85 to today’s Group 3.
It came on the back of another Black Type victory too after their tight victory over I’m Imposing on May 10 in the Listed Lord Mayors Cup (2000m) in Sydney.
Enjoying the sunny skies and firm track in Queensland, Zephyron was ridden by Glen Boss who also enjoyed a win aboard Stradbroke Handicap-bound filly Srikandi in the Group 3 Glenlogan Park Stakes (1350m) today.
Boss was patient aboard the eventual Premier’s Cup winner too letting Zephyron settle into an ace position fifth off the leader Skysoblue.
They saved their strength and had far too much left in the tank for their rivals, running away for a good three quarter length victory over evergreen veteran Precedence ($6).
Carrying the 59.5kg top weight today, the James & Bart Cummings-trained Precedence won the race 12 months ago and was far from disgraced running second when defending their title as an eight-year-old this winter.
The old warhorse settled about sixth or seventh before coming home well down the outside and running up to finish in the quinella.
Precedence had a length to spare over the third placed Pretty Pins ($7), John Thompson’s Pins mare coming off a two length win at the track in the Group 3 Chairman’s Handicap (2000m), who ran on well after settling midfield on the fence.
All three runners in the Premier’s Cup trifecta ran the perfect trial for the lucrative $300,000 Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m) on Stradbroke Handicap Day at Eagle Farm on June 7 won last year by Moriarty who won the Lord Mayor’s Cup on this day before their victory.
That’s exactly where connections plan to take Zephyron who should thrive over the mile and a half after running nearly another full lap post-Premier’s Cup win today before Boss was able to pull him up.
“This is an exciting staying prospect this bloke,” Boss said after saluting in a fine-copping post-win celebration.
“He gave me a lovely ride, I had to press the button a bit early, I didn’t want to go so quickly, but I had nothing taking me into the race.
“Jeez he was electric when I pushed it.
“He’s a horse that’s just come of age. A pleasure to ride
“I couldn’t pull him up, all he wanted to do was keep going after the line.
“He’s a young horse on the way up [so] absolutely no reason why he wouldn’t go there [to the Brisbane Cup] and he’ll be hard to beat.”
Co-trainer Michael Hawkes confirmed that the Brisbane Cup 2014 would be next for Zephyron, but only if the dry weather continued.
“It’s just about getting the horse relaxed,” he said.
“First time at the 2200 today, he got the right position, Boss rode him well and he’s actually got a great turn of foot.
“Hopefully it’s onwards and upwards.
“If all is going well and the track’s dry he’ll go to the Brisbane Cup.
“He’ll be there but if it’s wet I’ll scratch him and put him in the paddock.”
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2014 Premier’s Cup Results & Finishing Order
Doomben Race 9 – 24/05/2014
|1||7||ZEPHYRON (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Glen Boss||–||2||54kg||$4|
|2||1||PRECEDENCE (NZ)||Bart & James Cummings||Glen Colless||0.8L||11||59.5kg||$6|
|3||6||PRETTY PINS (NZ)||John P Thompson||Ryan Wiggins||1.8L||3||54kg||$7|
|4||4||ZENNISTA (NZ)||Lisa Latta||Mark Du Plessis||4.8L||1||55.5kg||$19|
|5||13||PERFECT START (NZ)||Wayne Hillis||Rory Hutchings||5.6L||10||54kg||$61|
|6||3||MILITARY MOVE (NZ)||Shaune Ritchie||Ric McMahon||7.6L||8||56.5kg||$26|
|7||5||LAUREN TATE (NZ)||John Morell||Jason Taylor||7.9L||13||54kg||$18|
|8||11||RAEBURN||Brian Smith||Anthony Allen (a)||8.7L||7||54kg||$81|
|9||15||TRAJET||Liam Birchley||Chris Munce||9.2L||9||54kg||$71|
|10||8||DANCHAI (GB)||Chris Waller||Timothy Bell||14.2L||6||54kg||$3.50F|
|11||12||VESPER||Michael Jacobs||Eddie Wilkinson||15.2L||4||54kg||$101|
|12||9||SKYSOBLUE (NZ)||Graeme Sanders||Jim Byrne||18L||12||54kg||$31|
|13||10||HEARTFELT QUEST||Len Treloar||Kerrin McEvoy||23.5L||14||54kg||$26|
|14||2||WALDPARK (GER)||Anthony Freedman||Damian Browne||43.5L||5||57.5kg||$15|
|–||14||FREEZY (IRE)||Anthony Freedman||Michael Cahill||–||0||–||–|