A notable performer over major two-year-old events through the 2014 Autumn Carnival, trainer David Hayes revealed he is pleased with the ever-building form of exciting runner Zululand ahead of this weekend’s Group 3 McNeil Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield.
Securing one race wins and two minor places over seven competitive starts so far, Zululand returned to the track in the Group 3 Vain Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on August 16th, but was unlucky to be blocked for a run in the final straight, finishing fifth.
Confirmed to carry topweight of 58.5kgs in the 2014 McNeil Stakes, Hayes said he was pleased with the Fastnet Rock colt’s performance first-up, and while confident of a strong performance this weekend, is not so convinced by his handicap.
“He doesn’t come in well at the weights but he’s going very well,” Hayes told AAP.
“With an ounce of luck he should have gone close first-up and he looks like he’s improved a bit.
“I really hope it’s a fast-run race and he’ll be powerful at the end. He’s on trial for the Golden Rose.”
Debuting with a strong turn of foot to finish second in the Flemington Equine Clinic Plate (1000m) on November 30th, Zululand more than stamped his claims as one to watch upon returning to racing in 2014 when running a credible third amongst classy competition in the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (1100m) on February 1st.
Unable to match the late pace of standout two-year-old Earthquake when ninth the in Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) on February 22nd, the colt out of Dream Play broke through for a maiden race win in the Group 2 VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) on March eighth and finishing fifth in the Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) before finishing second to Go Indy Go in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) on April 26th.
Sure to shorten if successful in the McNeil Stakes, leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au are currently displaying Zululand as a generous $41 chance for success in the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m), to be run at Rosehill Gardens on September 13th.
Allocated the ideal barrier 3 for the 2014 McNeil Stakes, Zululand is currently available at generous odds of $10 for success.
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