Jittery Zugulu has Azan on edge


November 23, 2015
Richard Azan

TRAINER Richard Azan believes ZUGULU was deserving of the patience shown by the starter on November 14 when the rowdy colt held up the start for almost 10 minutes, before being finally coaxed into the gate for his second career win.

Unbeaten in two starts, ZUGULU is among the favourites for Saturday?s Pick-3 Super Challenge Trophy, the second leg of the Supreme Ventures Limited Two-Year-old Series.

However, anxiety is high in Azan?s camp, and elsewhere, ahead of Saturday?s race. ZUGULU has proven a handful, rearing while in the gate for October?s series-opening Cash Pot Only One For Me Trophy, from which he was subsequently scratched by the vet.

When he returned on November 14, in a non-winners-of-two, ZUGULU, who had bolted on his intended debut and had also acted up badly when getting off the mark a week later, bullied the gate handlers well past post time. He eventually entered the gate blindfolded.

Responding to concerns that ZUGULU could put horses standing around in the gate at a disadvantage should he be loaded last for the Pick-3 Super Challenge, Azan said the reverse was attempted in the Cash Pot Trophy.

?There is some credence to that, but the last time he was put in early and ended up as a non-starter. He reared up and hurt himself,? he said.

Opinions on loading ZUGULU, last, he said, depended on differing positions.

?This last time was the only time he held up the race for a while. To just eliminate the horse is knocking the horse. I can?t say it?s reasonable or unreasonable,? he added.

With fingers crossed, Azan awaits Saturday.

?He is problematic at the gate. That is a big problem for me. They were going to non-start him. I?ve taken him back to the gate and it has still been a big challenge.

?Once he gets to run, he should have a chance.

He has quality, quite a nice colt. If, by some miracle, he behaves himself, he will be one of the key competitors,? Azan added, naming Shane Ellis as the retained jockey.

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