Trainer Leon Corstens has mapped out a Winter Carnival plan for Derby winner Zabeelionaire which will commence with the Listed $120,000 7-Eleven Pink Ribbon Cup (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Zabeelionaire has been unplaced at seven race starts since winning the Group 1 $500,000 Centrebet South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville last May but Corstens says the four year old is in prime condition for his return to the racetrack.
The Zabeel stallion was given a good break after finishing well down the track in last year’s Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington in the Spring and the 1400m first-up could be a bit short for the stayer
“I’m pleased with him but I don’t think the 1400 metres will be far enough,” Corstens said.
“I reckon he looks great and he’s working extra well, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed and hope he puts in a good showing.”
Corstens is expecting Zabeelionaire to realise his potential this campaign and selected the Group 1 $500,000 Doomben Cup (2000m) at Doomben on May 18 as one of his main Winter targets.
“This is his time,” Corstens said.
“He’s had enough time to mature and there’s no excuses. He’s got to produce.”
Corstens will head to the Gold Coast following his first-up run at Caulfield to run in the Group 2 $300,000 A D Hollindale Stakes (1800m) on May 4 as a lead up to the Doomben Cup.
Zabeelionaire has been lumped with 59.5kg and will jump from the outside of the small eight horse field with Michael Walker to ride.
Sydney trainer Daivd Payne will make the trip to Caulfield with topweight Centennial Park after initially thinking he didn’t want the seven year old to carry the huge impost of 60kg.
“The owner wants to come, it’s as simple as that, so he’ll be running down there now,” Payne said.
Centennial Park scored an impressive win over 1400m at Flemington early in the Autumn before returning to Sydney to finish sixth to Havana Rey in the Group 2 $175,000 Hyland Race Colours Ajax Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 30.