$2m Karaka seller primed for Brisbane Cup

29 May 2014

By Diane Stampalia - courtesy of The Informant

Three of the past four editions of the Gr. 2 Brisbane Cup have been won by New Zealand-bred horses and the strong line-up of Kiwi-breds in next week’s 2400-metre Queensland feature augurs well for continued dominance if last Saturday’s Gr. 3 Channel Seven Premier’s Cup (2200 metres) is any indicator.

The first seven runners in the important Brisbane Cup lead up were NZ-breds with Zephyron sitting up to five wide and running away for an easy victory over the field of 14. Second placing, by three-quarters of a length went to last year’s winner Precedence, completing a quinella for Zabeel, while a further length away third was Pins mare Pretty Pins.

Next home was Lisa Latta’s Zennista, while fifth place went to Perfect Start who made up good ground late for trainer Wayne Hillis.

Zephyron topped the 2010 Karaka Yearling sale when he was bought by bloodstock agent James Bester for $2 million and a win in the A$300,000 Brisbane Cup at his next start will head him in the right direction to recoup his sale price.

He has now won five races, his last start being his maiden stakes success in the Listed Lord Mayor’s Cup (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens.

After beginning his career in the Victorian stable of Mark Kavanagh, Zephyron is now in the care of the Hawkes team in Sydney. Last Saturday’s race was his first attempt at 2200 metres and he left an obvious impression on rider Glen Boss.

“I had nothing taking me into the race. I had to peel out a bit earlier than I wanted but he was electric when I pushed the button,” said Boss. “I couldn't pull him up; all he wanted to do was keep galloping after the line. He's a young horse on the way up and there is no reason why he wouldn't go to the Brisbane Cup and be hard to beat.”

Zephyron races in the ownership of breeders Sir Patrick and Lady Hogan, 'Lucky Laurie' Macri and Ananda Krishnan, who are looking forward to enjoying the fruits of his resurrected career after showing so much as a youngster then losing his way despite being gelded.

According to James Bester, the horse indicated he just 'didn't want to be there', sweating up and turning himself inside out each time he got near the races. Reportedly Sir Patrick advised Bester to send the horse to Sydney and 'do a Molodysky' on him (referring to Sydney's 'doctor to the racing industry', Professor Eugen Molodysky, guru of preventative, diagnostic and healing medicine).

Randwick Equine went all over him with bone-scintigraphy and x-rays and found severely bucked shins, chips in both front fetlocks and evidence of a traumatic shoulder injury.

Surgery and rehabilitation followed with further complications resulting in Zephyron developing a post-surgical tendon-sheath infection that could have killed him and required further expensive surgery, treatment and more extensive care.

Finally the horse was sent to the Hawkes team and their on-going expertise has resulted in major improvements to his performances to date, with the future now looking very bright.

Zephyron hails from Cambridge Stud's prolific Eight Carat family and amongst a host of others, is closely related to stallions Don Eduardo, Colombia and Commands, who all sired winners last Saturday.

Leading Darley stallion Commands stole the show, siring a stakes double at Doomben. The first was Cape Kidnappers, winner of the Listed Chief De Beers Stakes (1110m), followed by Vilanova who spreadeagled the field in the Gr. 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m).

Last season when trained by Jason Bridgman, Vilanova looked promising as a two-year-old stakes winner in New Zealand under his original name, Catalonia. He easily defeated a good field in the Listed Wentwood Grange Stakes at Te Rapa in a lead-up to the Karaka Million before joining the Sydney stables of Chris Waller.

He goes into next Saturday’s A$500,000 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm as the likely favourite.