A dashing front running ride by Adam Hyeronimus gave Zara Dancer his first black type win in the Listed $100,000 Frank Underwood Cup (1900m) at Canterbury today.
The apprentice used up the five-year-old gelding from barrier 11 to lead early.
The unruly Tom’s Rocket applied pressure most of the way while Solid Billing, settled in behind third.
The trio opened a five length mid-race gap on the field.
It lent the race being set up for a backmarker, but Hyeronimus had different ideas.
Zara Dancer had some respite from the 1000m to 600m and then was set alight again.
General thought was it best to get to the middle of the wet track in the straight but Zara Dancer was kept to the fence.
Solid Billing was gone before the turn and Tom’s Rocket was making no impression a length back in the straight.
The Peter Snowden-trained Yulalona looked the obvious danger but couldn’t catch Zara Dancer.
Scottish Border and Count Encosta flashed home to be close up after coming from the back.
The win by Zara Dancer was a victory for horses wearing blinkers for the first time.
Co-trainer Jim Lee gave the credit for that move to suspended jockey Jim Cassidy.
Cassidy had ridden the son of Savabeel at his previous start.
“Jim Cassidy said put blinkers on, pop him out in front and he should just about win,” Lee said.
“The blinkers are the key to him, he switched off at Hawkesbury (two starts back) I thought and Jim confirmed that (last time).”
Zara Dancer was formerly trained by Bruce Wallace in New Zealand before being left with Jim and Greg Lee recently.
“I just took over from Bruce, no credit (to me) there, he always had a good opinion of the horse,” Lee said.
Hyeronimus was reluctant to come off the fence in the straight which proved a winning move.
“I just kept him in his momentum (by staying on the fence) and he is bred to get through the wet and he did,” he said
“They put the blinkers on and told me to roll forward and keep going.
“Once he got to the front, he relaxed nicely and he kicked and kept running.”
Zara Dancer has now won four of 22 starts and almost doubled he prize-money to $126,000.
|1||10||ZARA DANCER (NZ)||Jim & Greg Lee||Adam Hyeronimus (a)||7||53kg||$7.50|
|2||12||YULALONA||Peter Snowden||Corey Brown||0.3L||3||53kg||$3.30F|
|3||8||SCOTTISH BORDER||Garry Frazer||Mathew Cahill||1.1L||5||53kg||$5.50|
|4||5||COUNT ENCOSTA||John P Thompson||Brenton Avdulla||1.3L||4||53kg||$11|
|5||1||SOLID BILLING||Craig Ritchie||Jay Ford||1.8L||6||57kg||$26|
|6||13||TOM’S ROCKET||Joseph Pride||Ms Kathy O’Hara||1.8L||8||53kg||$11|
|7||2||STRIKE ONE (GB)||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||2.9L||1||56.5kg||$6|
|8||7||GAZZA GURU||Stephen Farley||Jeff Penza||3.2L||2||53kg||$9.50|
|9||11||LEVI’S CHOICE||John P Thompson||Christian Reith||13L||9||53kg||$11|
|6||BARLAGARNEY||Graeme Rogerson||Tommy Berry||0|
|4||MISS KEEPSAKE (NZ)||Joseph Pride||0|
|9||TEARDROP ROCK||Gai Waterhouse||Nathan Berry||0|
|3||LEGSMAN (NZ)||John O’Shea||Josh Adams (a)||0|