Talented sprinter Zoustar is set to leave Australia for England on Sunday to begin preparations for the 2014 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1207m) that will be held during the Royal Ascot meeting on June 22.
The 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival of Zoustar was disrupted by the wet weather in Sydney and he was restricted to just a single start in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Royal Randwick on March 15.
Widden Stud owner Antony Thompson, who own a share in the stallion prospect, told Sky Racing HQ this morning that trainer Chris Waller was keen to get Zoustar to England as quickly as possible and revealed that the son of Northern Meteor would fly from Sydney to Germany on Sunday before being floated to England at the start of next week.
“Chris was keen to get to England sooner rather than later,” Waller said.
“Obviously the tracks had gone against us in Sydney and we always had in the back of our minds going to Europe and having a real crack over there.
“Chris believes that he has the right horse to go and he is keen to get there and get him acclimatized and ready to race at Ascot and hopefully the July Cup.
“If there is a bit of a hiccup in the travel it gives you more time to get over it and there is always the risk of the horse losing weight, travel sickness and any of those little things.
“We will just get there and get him established.”
Zoustar has been included in the nominations for both the King’s Stand Stakes (1006m) and Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1207m) during the 2014 Royal Ascot meeting, but at this stage will contest only the Diamond Jubilee Stakes – a race that has previously been won by Australian sprinters Choisir (2003), Starspangledbanner (2010) and Black Caviar (2012).
Thompson said that the King’s Stand Stakes remains a possibility if there is wet weather in England in the lead-up to the meeting, but confirmed that Zoustar would not have a lead-up run before either Group 1 sprint.
“Chris was hoping to have a lead-up run, but there is probably not a suitable race,” Thompson said.
“As a three-year-old and a Group 1 winner there is not really any race where we can run him in suitable conditions; he obviously gets severely penalised in the obvious lead-up races at Ascot as a Group 1 winner.
“We will probably just give him a barrier trial there on the 6th of June with the idea of running him on the 21st.
“Chris is still happy to head towards the six furlong race (Diamond Jubilee Stakes) rather than the five furlong race on the first day.
“We will play it at the time on how the weather looks and how the horse has been established over there.
“We can always run him on the first day over five.”
While Zoustar failed to fire on a wet track in the Canterbury Stakes, finishing eighth behind Appearance, Thompson said that Waller was happy with the form of the three-year-old and is excited to see the two-time Group 1 winner return to the races.
“He has done very well and he is dying to get back to the races,” Thompson said.
“Chris is very happy with him and his work in the lead-up to the T.J. was very good and there was a fair bit of confidence about him, but we obviously didn’t get the track that day.
“It will be nice to get him back to the races.”