Trainer Darren Weir believes that a new stable environment at Warrnambool has been the key to the rejuvenation of 2014 Doomben Cup contender Akzar.
Akzar made his racing debut under the care of John Oxx in Ireland in 2010 and arrived in Australia in 2011 after being purchased by Lloyd Williams and had seven starts, for just one win, as a member of Macedon Lodge before joining the stable of Rob Blacker in 2012.
The Selkirk gelding had eleven starts for Blacker before scoring his second race win in Australia, taking out a Benchmark Handicap (2500m) at Morphettville on December 8 in 2012, before making it two wins in a row when he won the Complete PC Solutions Handicap (3000m) at Moonee Valley two weeks later.
Akzar was set for the Listed Warrnambool Cup (2350m) during his autumn campaign in 2013, finishing 13th, and after making a slow start to his summer campaign at the end of last year was transferred to Weir’s stable.
The seven-year-old made his debut for the Weir stable with a win in the Mitchelton Wines Handicap (1600m) at Moonee Valley on January 24 and maintained his unbeaten record for his new stable in the Hilton Nicholas Handicap (2000m) at Flemington on February 15 and the VRC 150th Celebration Race (2000m) at the same venue on March before finishing second behind the talented Our Voodoo Prince in both the Community Raceday Handicap (2000m) on April 5 and the Group 3 Easter Cup (2000m) at Caulfield on April 19.
Akzar was extremely well-backed in the lead-up to the 2014 Warrnambool Cup and justified the support of punters with a dominant six lengths victory; stamping himself as one of the favourites for the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) in Brisbane this weekend.
Weir told Sky Racing HQ that Akzar has clearly relished his new environment at Warrnambool and believes that change of scenery was all that the veteran gelding needed to live up to his potential.
“He did a week or ten days at Ballarat,” Weir said.
“He turned up to my place from Rob Blacker’s in beautiful order and I had him at Ballarat and I was just poking along with him for ten days, but he was just going through the motions and it didn’t look like it was going to work.
“We swapped him down to the beach and he has just thrived since he has been there and it has been as simple as that to be honest.
“You have to have access to tracks as well, but he is just an older horses that has been trained at tracks all his life and it is just a matter of changing their routine and they get the will to win back again.
“That is what happened with Akzar, but we sent plenty down there that it doesn’t work with.”
Akzar will make his Group 1 debut in the Doomben Cup this weekend and is currently on the third line of betting for the weight-for-age event; with Team Hawkes-trained Leebaz ($3.80) and triple Group 1 winner Streama ($3.80) currently battling for favouritism.