Trainer David Hayes is hoping that veteran gelding Extra Zero can turn around his form in the Ambassadors Plate (2000m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Extra Zero has been in work since May and has been unable to record a victory in any of his nine race starts this preparation; with fourth place finishes in the Championship Heat (1400m) at Flemington on May 18 and the Antler Luggage Handicap (2000m) at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day his best performances.
The seven-year-old has not scored a race win since his victory in the Listed Albury Gold Cup (2000m) at the start of last year and Hayes is quickly losing patience with the gelding but is hopeful he may have found the right race for the son of Danzero this weekend.
“It is about time that he stepped up I think,” Hayes said
“From the wide barrier we are hoping that he has enough freshness and speed to take up a forward position.”
Hayes will also have experienced mare Unchain My Heart in the Ambassadors Plate this weekend but isn’t particularly confident about the chances of the daughter of Al Maher in the 2000 metre event.
Unchain My Heart has recorded all of her best results over lengthy staying trips, winning the 2011 Flinders Lane Shirt Handicap (2600m), the 2011 Aston Bloodstock De La Salle Handicap (2800m), Listed 2012 Bagot Handicap (2800m), 2013 William Newton Handicap (2600m) and Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes (3200m), and has failed to fire over shorter trips in the Group 3 Snowhite Maintenance Classic (1600m) and the Group 2 Momentum Energy Stakes (2000m) this preparation.
“It is probably a bit too short for Unchain My Heart,” Hayes said.
“She was in at Ballarat but she got washed out and she doesn’t like wet ground.”
Unchain My Heart ($17) is rated a much better winning chance than Extra Zero ($41) in Ambassadors Plate betting markets but Hayes disagrees and rates Extra Zero his leading hope in the $100,000 event this weekend.
“I would probably lean to Extra Zero,” Hayes said.
Consistent Chris Waller-trained galloper Multilateral ($3.70) is a narrow favourite in Ambassadors Plate betting markets but will face a tough test against a strong field that includes Robert Smerdon-trained Electric Fusion ($4.60), last-start winner Post D’France ($7.50) and Kyneton Cup winner Constant Force ($11).