A notable performer over two-year-old events through the 2014 Autumn Racing Carnival, trainer David Hayes has revealed he is eyeing a spring racing campaign geared towards the featured Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) for exciting colt Zululand.
Quickly stamping his claims as one to watch over six largely impressive starts, Zululand was unlucky not to break through for a maiden victory at the highest level of Australian racing when finishing second to Go Indy Go in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) most recently on April 26th.
Understandably pleased with the way the Fastnet Rock colt has successfully taken to his racing career, Hayes told TVN Zululand will definitely contest the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 11th, with a berth in the Victoria Derby to be determined by results over increased distance.
“The way he finished off the mile (1600m) race last time (second in Group 1 Champagne Stakes) he may well turn into a Derby horse,” Hayes said.
“He’ll at least be a Caulfield Guineas horse and we can always see if he looks like getting the Derby trip.”
Debuting with an impressive turn of foot to finish second in the Flemington Equine Clinic Plate (1000m) on November 30th, Zululand was unlucky to finish fourth when blocked for a run in the early straight of the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (1100m) on February 1st.
Unable to handle the late pace when ninth in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) on February 22nd, the colt out of Dream Play responded positively to the step up in distance of the Group 2 VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m); strolling home to win by nearly two lengths.
Placing fifth in the Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) in his only other start prior to the Champagne, Hayes said Zululand has been back in work for around one month and has so-far been pleased with his condition and rising form.
With early betting markets for the 2014 Victoria Derby yet to appear, Zululand is currently available at generous odds of $21 for success in the Caulfield Guineas; sharing the seventh line of betting with five likely opponents at leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au.
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