Champion stallion Zabeel shoots for his fourth individual Melbourne Cup winner with Zacada on Tuesday.
Zabeel has previously been successful with Efficient, Jezabeel and Might and Power and looks to the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained six-year-old gelding Zacada in tomorrow’s A$7 million Gr.1 Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington.
Cambridge stayer Zacada is bred and raced by Rotorua dairy farmers Andrew Bryant and David Armstrong along with Sir Patrick and Justine, Lady Hogan.
There has been no joy in four starts with Zacada since his close second to Who Shot Thebarman in the 2018’s Gr.1 Sydney Cup and his owners were on tenterhooks awaiting confirmation of a place in the Melbourne Cup field until late Saturday.
“It was an absolute roller-coaster,” Bryant said. “One minute we looked like we’d just get in, then there was a doubt.
“When we got in we had a big night on the town on Saturday night. (Sir) Patrick joined us and we celebrated, mind you we kept reminding him of the ‘beautiful’ draw he drew for us – 24 out of 24.
“It’s such a huge thrill to have a runner in a Melbourne Cup. (Sir) Patrick has been there and done that before, but it’s a first for David and I, even though he’s rated a 200/1 chance. He wasn’t fancied either when he ran in the Sydney Cup ($91).”
Like the Who Shot Thebarman camp, Bryant and Armstrong also have a strong support group on hand to cheer on Zacada on Tuesday.
“There are 30 family and friends who have come over for it, some of them are farmers from around the area,” Bryant said.
”It’s great for us to have them here. Now we’re looking forward to Cup day.
“Murray says Zacada is a happy horse and the forecast is for a bit of rain and that would help him. We know he stays the distance.”
A proven stayer, Zacada is the winner of the Gr.2 Avondale Cup (2400m) back in January and also ran well when fourth in the Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m) in March prior to his narrow defeat in the Sydney Cup.
Zacada will be ridden by Damian Lane and is rated a $71 chance with the NZ TAB. – NZ Racing Desk