Veteran galloper Extra Zero will kick off his Spring Carnival campaign when he lines up in the $90,000 Open Handicap (1400m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Extra Zero has shown his liking for the spacious Flemington track and although he has only won twice from twenty-nine appearances there, the nine year old has been placed on another eleven occasions in his long career.
Two of those placings have been at Group 1 level and as a three year old Extra Zero was beaten a length by Monaco Consul when second in the 2009 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) and during the Melbourne Autumn Carnival this year was beaten a whisker by stablemate Spillway in the weight for age $1m Australian Cup (2000m).
Co-trainer Tom Dabernig expects the 1400m on Saturday will be too short for the Extra Zero but the veteran will take a lot of benefit from the run and his early Spring form will determine where he ends up later his preparation.
Dabernig, who trains in partnership with David Hayes, said a Victorian Country Cups campaign could be on the cards and he hasn’t ruled out another crack at weight for age in the Group 1 $1m Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 31.
“He’s carrying plenty of condition which you want them to do at the beginning of their campaign,” Dabernig told AAP.
“He’ll find the 1400 metres too sharp and will steadily improve with a bit of racing once we get him out to his right trip.
“He seems good and hasn’t lost any enthusiasm at this stage.”
Extra Zero hasn’t raced since finishing eight to Hartnell in the Group 1 $1.5m The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill on March 28 and has had two jump outs at Flemington in preparation for his comeback but his form indicates a first up win is unlikely with only two placings recorded from ten first up attempts.
The Danzero gelding has raced consistently throughout his long career and has earned just over $1.4m from five wins, seventeen seconds and eight thirds from seventy-four starts.
Stablemate Pago Rock has also been nominated for the same race on Saturday.