In-form carnival jockey Jim Cassidy has no concerns that headline colt Zoustar is ready to tackle 1300m first up in the Group 1 $500,000 Guinness Canterbury Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.
Zoustar is having his first run since winning the Group 1 $500,000 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on November 2 but Cassidy is confident that Sydney’s leading trainer Chris Waller has him ready the first-up assignment.
“He might be first-up at 1300m but Chris (Waller) has got him looking great and he is worked as well as you could hope. I can’t wait for Saturday,’’ Cassidy told The Daily Telegraph.
Waller has given the Northern Meteor colt two barrier trials at Randwick in the lead up to his Autumn Carnival return and wrapped up his preparation with a solid piece of work at Rosehill on Tuesday morning.
“Zoustar worked ‘terrific’ this morning,’’ Cassidy said on Tuesday after the gallop.
Waller was also very happy with the work but added that the colt will also benefit greatly from the run on Saturday.
“He worked out there on his own and he is ready to rock and roll,” Waller told TVN.
“It is just a matter of not doing too much with him.
“He just had a little breeze up the straight and he finished off well.
“You can’t replace race fitness and the things that come along with it.”
Zoustar will be tackling weight for age for the first time after recording all his six wins against his own age group.
The $20 million colt scored three wins as a two year old, including the Group 2 $250,000 Al Basti Equiworld BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1350) at Doomben during last year’s Brisbane Winter Carnival.
And his three wins to date in his three year old season include his two Group 1 wins, the Coolmore Stud Stakes and the $1m De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on September 14 as well a win at Group 2 level in the $175,000 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on October 5.
Zoustar has drawn well at barrier three in the ten horse Canterbury Stakes with Cassidy to ride again.
Waller will saddle four of the ten runners with Red Tracer with Nash Rawiller from gate seven looking to be the toughest stablemate to beat after winning first up in the Group 2 $175,000 Millie Fox Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill on March 1.
Group 1 winners My Kingdom Of Fyfe (Glyn Schofield, 5) and Sacred Falls (Tommy Berry, 2) are both having their first runs back from a break with Sacred Falls showed that he is ready to put in good performance after winning a Rosehill barrier trial on March 4.
Trainer Guy Walter is also strongly represented with his two Group 1 winning mares Appearance and Streama and Epsom placegetter Toydini.
Kerrin McEvoy takes over from Blake Shinn who rode Appearance (barrier 10) to two wins from two runs this preparation in the Group 2 $200,000 SCSI Expressway Stakes (1200m) on February 8 and the Group 2 $250,000 Schweppes Apollo Stakes (1400m) on February 22 both at Randwick.
While Glen Boss takes over from Shinn on Streama (8) who will be fitter for one run from a spell when fifth to Catkins in the Group 2 $175,000 NSW Thoroughbred Breeders Classic (1200m) at Rosehill on February 15.
Shinn will be on Toydini (9) again after the four year old beat one runner home at his first run this campaign when eighth to Terravista in the Group 3 $150,000 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on February 22.
Team Hawkes will be hoping for another big victory from Not Listenin’tome after the Dylan Thomas three year old scored a four lengths win in the Group 3 $135,000 Sportingbet Zedative Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 22.