Eight-year-old gelding Extra Zero was always going to contest a 2400-metre race on March 28 but due to his recent impressive efforts, the race itself has been shuffled around.
David Hayes & Tom Dabernig earned the shocking quinella in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) on Saturday when Spillway and $101 roughie Extra Zero finished within a millimetre of each other, upsetting race favourites Happy Trails (4th) and Protectionist (8th).
It was the closest result in the $1 million race’s history and veteran Extra Zero’s efforts will not go unrewarded.
Hayes revealed the gelding was originally going to run in the $350,000 Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) in a fortnight but will instead travel to Sydney for the $1.5 million Group 1 The BMW (2400m) instead.
“We were going to set him for the Mornington Cup, because I think he’s racing like a mile-and-a-half is going to suit him, but we’ve done the big switch and we’re going for The BMW,” Hayes told Racing Victoria.
“He gave The BMW favourites a start and a beating yesterday and, all bar Spillway, he was an impressive winner.”
This year will be the second time Extra Zero contests The BMW but his trainers are expecting a better result than when he finished second-last back in 2011.
Extra Zero has had a lengthy campaign, running straight through since September with 13 starts. His only win in that time came in the Byron Moore Handicap (2000m) on January 1 but he enjoyed placings in 11 of his 13 starts, including the Group 3 Eclipse Stakes (1800m), Listed Mornington Cup Prelude (2000m), and most recently the Australian Cup.
Hayes would like to send Spillway to Sydney next month for the $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on April 11 but it will all depend on how the five-year-old British import pulls through from his 2015 Australian Cup win.
“He felt the ground a bit yesterday and he’s pulled up a bit shuffly,” Hayes said.
“He’s sound structurally, but he just felt the ground a bit.”
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