Trainer Bjorn Baker has confirmed that in-form sprinter Zaratone will stay in work and contest the Listed Razor Sharp Handicap (1200m) at Royal Randwick on December 14.
Zaratone started his campaign with two fair efforts in the Lidoran Ground Spring Handicap (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on November 2 and the Diamond Beach Handicap (1100m) at the same venue on November 16 before returning to the winners circle with a strong front running victory in the Listed Starlight Stakes (1100m) on Saturday.
The Zariz gelding was far too strong for the rest of the field in the Listed event and the win was only dampened by the fact that regular jockey Kathy O’Hara missed the ride after suffering a nasty fall at Randwick on Friday night.
Baker and replacement jockey Brenton Avdulla both dedicated the win to O’Hara after the race on Saturday and Baker told Racing Ahead that it was disappointing that the leading jockey was unable to partner Zaratone in the race that had been his major target this preparation.
“He is in fantastic form and it was great to see him back at Rosehill over his pet distance,” Baker said.
“It was unfortunate that she couldn’t be there.
“That was the target all along; he came fifth first-up with a lot of weight and then came third and it was really the race that we were aiming for.
“She rode him in the two earlier runs and couldn’t be on him on Saturday.
“He was really primed for that and it was a Listed race so he was back down in weight and he had a lot of positives going into the race.”
The Listed Razor Sharp Handicap (1200m) is the next race on the agenda for Zaratone and Baker said that the veteran gelding could also contest the Listed Takeover Target Stakes (1200m) at Gosford on January 9 and the Listed Canterbury Classic (1100m) on January 24 before heading to the spelling paddock.
“He will head to the Listed 1200 metre race at Randwick in two weeks, I think that it is called the Razor Sharp.
“There is also a couple of races around the New Year like the Takeover Target Stakes at Gosford and one other 1100 metre race as well.
“There are a couple of options there but we will take it just one step at a time.
“The 1200 metre at Royal Randwick is not his ideal course or trip but he is going really well so he wouldn’t be without a chance.”
Zaratone has now accumulated over $500,000 for connections and recorded 17 wins from his 54 career starts.