Jimmy Cassidy is looking forward to continuing his winning connection with Zoustar during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival after the talented colt impressed him with his performance in a barrier trial at Royal Randwick yesterday.
Cassidy kept Zoustar under a heavy hold in the trial over 850 metres, but the son of Northern Meteor was still able to work home strongly and give Cassidy the impression that he is ready for another big campaign.
“He was very nice,” Cassidy told RSN this morning.
“He certainly looks good, has strengthened up and trailed very nice yesterday.
“He just went round on the bit, did what he was asked to do and has pulled up tremendous.”
Zoustar recorded two impressive wins at the highest level of racing during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, winning the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) and the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m), but he is set to face an even tougher task when he steps-up to weight-for-age level for the first time in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) on March 15, the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) on April 12 and the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) on April 26.
Cassidy admits that Zoustar will have to step-up to another level to be competitive against the best sprinters in Australia, but said that he has been happy with the physical improvement the three-year-old has made ahead of his autumn campaign.
“I think that he is a great colt and everything is upside to him,” Cassidy said.
“You always have to raise the bar to the next level when you have had a prep and his trial yesterday showed that he is on the way to doing that.
“He obviously comes through the Golden Rose and into the Coolmore on Derby Day and kept the colours flying high.
“He seems to have spelled nice and come back really well.
“He is just a ball of muscle and he obviously has to be ready to win first-up in the 1300, so he is just taking every step as it comes.”
Cassidy is chasing back-to-back wins in the Canterbury Stakes, after winning the 2013 edition of the race with Pierro, and will have the opportunity to score his first win in the T.J. Smith Stakes after finishing in the placings with Triple Honour (third behind Black Caviar in 2011), Black Ink (second behind Bentley Biscuit in 2007) and Spinning Hill (second behind Century Kid in 2001).