Hogan's heroes live chances in Brisbane Cup

5 Jun 2014

Courtesy of NZ Racing Desk

Zephyron and Precedence’s Premier’s Cup quinella at Doomben last month seemed the perfect result for New Zealand breeding legend Sir Patrick Hogan.

But as the Zabeel geldings again prepare to go head-to-head in Saturday’s Gr.2 $A300,000 Brisbane Cup (2400m) at Eagle Farm, the Cambridge Stud boss reckons there’s a way to top that result.

“A dead-heat would be even better,” Sir Patrick said.

In the Premier’s Cup, the John, Michael and Wayne Hawkes-trained Zephyron came from just behind the speed to score a comfortable win over the fast-closing Bart and James Cummings-trained Precedence, both producing terrific Brisbane Cup trials.

Zephyron, a $2 million yearling that Sir Patrick at the time described as the best colt he’d ever presented for sale, has overcome a shaky start to his career that has seen him sidelined with injury as a young horse and subsequently gelded and transferred to the Hawkes stable.

Now as a five-year-old, he is fulfilling the promise that he showed early on with wins in the Lord Mayor’s Cup in Sydney and the Premier’s Cup in Brisbane in his last two outings to take his record to five wins from 15 starts.

Sir Patrick, who initially along with his wife Justine retained a 20 per share in Zephyron before increasing their holding to 40 per cent after he was injured and another part-owner dropped out, regretted that the blue-blood had to be gelded but said it was a necessary operation to give him his best shot at being a racehorse, a decision that was now starting to pay dividends.

“That last win showed that he’s a big chance to take another step forward again, hopefully this weekend in the Brisbane Cup and perhaps he might even be a force in the spring in Melbourne,” Sir Patrick said.

“He showed a real turn out foot and the jockey [Glen Boss] said the horse just didn’t want to stop after the post either. He said he was just loving what he was doing and hence why he let him run so far after the winning post.

“There’s 11 horses in the race on Saturday and he’s drawn 10 so he’s not going to have easy trip from out there but the way he rounded out the Premier’s Cup showed the mile and a half [2400m] this weekend won’t be a problem.”

While injury plagued Zephyron’s early career, Precedence has had no such problem.

“Precedence is an amazing horse. He’s rising nine in a few weeks but he’d have to be the soundest horse that has raced,” Sir Patrick said.

“We’ve never had an issue with him. Never done a tendon or hurt a joint. I’ve never known one so sound.”

Precedence will line up for his 59th start in the Brisbane Cup, having already won 10 times, six of them at stakes level, including two Moonee Valley Cups.

“He’s got 59 kilos to carry but he came home fastest of all in the Premier’s Cup,” Sir Patrick said.

“But if you asked me which of the two had the best chance, I couldn’t split them.”

The Brisbane Cup is something of a Kiwi-bred roll call, with nine of the 11 runners bred in New Zealand, including the Kiwi-trained trio of Historian, Zennista and Skysoblue. - NZ Racing Desk