Victorian visitor Extra Zero is looking to confirm a Perth Cup 2015 target next month with a good showing at Ascot Racecourse this weekend in the $250,000 Group 2 C.B. Cox Stakes (2100m).
Prepared in Melbourne by David Hayes & Tom Dabernig, veteran nine-year-old Extra Zero is one of 11 likely runners in the CB Cox Stakes field on Saturday where he has drawn wide in gate 10 for jockey Chris Parnham, which shouldn’t be an issue for the known back runner.
Parnham replaces Mark Zahra in the saddle of the Danzero gelding who comes off a mid-field seventh when beaten nine lengths by the Grant Williams-trained filly Perfect Reflection in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) in the wet at Ascot on December 5.
That followed another Group 1 seventh back home at Flemington on Derby Day behind French galloper Gailo Chop in the Mackinnon Stakes (1600m) over the mile.
Extra Zero has amassed over $1.5 million in prize money over his 81-start career but hasn’t won a race since New Year’s Day this January over 2000m at Flemington.
His autumn form was good however and included a narrow second to Spillway in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) back in March, and this spring he was also only one and a quarter lengths off Preferment in Flemington’s Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m).
Lindsay Park’s Racing Manager Ryan Moore is hoping Extra Zero can return to his best form getting back up in distance on Saturday in the CB Cox Stakes as he eyes a run in the $500,000 Group 2 Perth Cup (2400m) over the mile and a half on January 2.
“If Extra Zero was to run well on Saturday the connections will consider the Perth Cup,” Moore confirmed to The West Australian this week.
“He’s run second in an Australian Cup and performed well at the top level. He would deserve whatever weight he gets.”
Moore is confident Extra Zero will improve on his Kingston Town run with a firmer track this weekend, stating the 2100m as an ideal distance for the old warhorse.
“He’s always been a battler in the wet and all things being equal, it wasn’t a bad run,” Moore said.
“Since then he’s been enjoying the weather over there and his work is good. His record over 2000 is very good and the 2100 is an ideal distance.”
He is paying around $15 in futures Perth Cup betting at the bookies, markets led by Williams’ dual Group 1 winning mare Delicacy and the reigning Perth Cup champion Real Love who are both also entered for Saturday’s CB Cox Stakes.
Four-year-old Al Maher mare Delicacy comes off a second in the Kingston Town Classic and boasts winning Group 1 form up to 2500m having won the SA Derby in Adelaide this winter.
Perth’s number one hoop William Pike takes the mount from gate six on Saturday while Peter Hall, who was aboard Delicacy for the Kingston Town second, jumps on the Adam Durrant-trained Real Love from barrier five.
Heading towards a title defence in the Perth Cup, five-year-old Desert King mare Real Love is out to improve on her two unplaced runs when seventh and eighth in the Railway Stakes and Kingston Town Classic respectively.
If Delicacy wins the CB Cox Stakes she is likely to overtake Extra Zero as the Perth Cup top weight for 2016.
With a minimum top-weight of 58kg, owner-breeder Bob Peters is delaying a final Perth Cup decision with Delicacy until after Saturday’s lead-up run.
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