Settled Zugulu will be unstoppable
IN-UTERO colt ZUGULU's hardest task in tomorrow's Pick-3 Super Challenge will be to enter the starting gate and remain settled long enough for the starter to send the nine-horse field on its way. That's how impressive the fractious colt has seemed in two unbeaten races as well as at exercise.
Last time out, the Coca Cola Juvenile Sprint on Superstakes day, ZUGULU broke on top, like an innocent child pretending to have done no wrong, after holding up the start of the event for almost 10 minutes with his regular antics.
He proceeded to make every yard of the running, clocking 1:20.3 for a five-and-a-half length win, posting splits of 23.1, 46.3 and 1:12.4, the last half furlong in 7.4.
Not once did Shane Ellis move his hands down the backstretch. In the stretch run, he gave the colt a reminder a furlong and a half out and was merely posing for the cameras inside the last half furlong as he brought ZUGULU home.
He was drawn widest that afternoon, post-position seven. He gets a similar draw, stall nine from which Ellis will have everybody in his sights from the get-go, aboard a horse which, seemingly, will not be left behind in any pace set by the likes of speedy SIMPLY THE BEST.
With his stamina and speed unquestionable, only ZUGULU's temperament will be a determining factor. For October's Cash Pot Trophy, he did enter the gate but reared and was scratched by the vet.
Racing Secretary Denzil Miller on Wednesday said fractious ZUGULU has shown "some progress" since returning to the gate following the Coca Cola Juvenile Sprint.
However, he did not commit to saying whether the talented, but high-strung colt would be loaded first for the Pick-3 Super Challenge, as suggested by top trainers Philip Feanny and Wayne DaCosta, who both expressed concerns that, if loaded last, he could act up and have the other horses standing in the gate for a prolonged period.
"The loading process for ZUGULU will be earlier than his last race. He won't be the last to be loaded," Miller said.
Asked whether the temperamental colt will be first into the gate for the 1400-metre race," Miller said that would be decided on the day.
"When he gets to the gate, we will analyse the behaviour of ZUGULU and take it from there," he said.
Whether he is loaded first or last, ZUGULU should be first at the wire as he has been showing at exercise that he is no ordinary two-year-old, putting away stablemate TARRANIS, at will, in 1:07.0 for five and a half furlongs Sunday morning.