Don't oppose Azan's Zugulu
Richard Azan's ZUGULU has not only established himself as the firm favourite for Monday's Cash Pot 'Only One For Me' trophy race, it will take a super-smart horse to deny him a sweep of the Supreme Ventures Limited Two-Year-Old Series.
The big, dark bay colt recovered from a horrible start, on a wet track, to win by four lengths on his October 3 debut, posting 1:07.3, the fastest 1,100 metres by a two-year-old this season.
At exercise 10 days later, he posted 1:13.2 for six furlongs, galloping with experienced three-year-old stablemate TARANIS, who won the workout in 1:13.0.
ZUGULU's main threats are expected from champion trainer Wayne DaCosta's barn, the trio of DREAMLINER, FUTURE KING and the filly VISION.
DaCosta's runners flexed their muscles the morning before ZUGULU galloped. DREAMLINER and FUTURE KING were heads-on, clocking 1:07.0 for five and a half furlongs. VISION posted 1:07.4 for the distance.
The champion trainer has already stated that DREAMLINER will be coming to make all, a tactic which was foiled by Azan's FEDORA in the 1,100-metre Keeling Memorial on September 26.
After DREAMLINER had beaten her by nine and a half lengths on August 29, FEDORA returned treated with lasix. She pressed 1-5 favourite DREAMLINER on the lead in splits of 22.4, 46.2, resulting in DaCosta's outsider, 16-1 shot VISION, capitalising with an upset come-from-behind win at 1,100 metres.
FEDORA is back to take a crack at DREAMLINER, which should open the race to the run-on horses - ZUGULU, FUTURE KING and, to a lesser extent, VISION.
FUTURE KING was 12 lengths behind DREAMLINER on debut at 1,000 metres round. He returned at 1,100 metres a month later to beat Philip Feanny's filly, SORENTINO'S STAR, in 1:08.1. Though he will run on lasix tomorrow, he has not shown the class of ZUGULU to bother Azan's runner inside the final furlong.
Though the Cash Pot Trophy has been mainly won by speed horses, especially fillies who have won six of the last seven runnings of the 1,200-metre race, Azan warned earlier this week that his colt could return an improved animal.
"You can never tell when he comes back a second time. When dealing with two-year-olds, I let the jockeys work with how the horse presents himself in a race," he said, suggesting Shane Ellis had allowed ZUGULU to have his way on debut.
Now taken to task at exercise, don't be surprised if the in-utero colt gets into the pace much earlier than he did when brushing aside rivals on debut.