His sire Fastnet Rock never won a race over 1200 metres, but trainer David Hayes has revealed that Zululand is a chance of contesting the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
Zululand made his racing debut with a second place finish behind Nordic Empire in the Flemington Equine Clinic Plate (1000m) at Caulfield on November 30 and after a brief freshen-up started his autumn campaign with a fourth place finish in the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (1100m) at the same venue on February 1.
The Fastnet Rock colt made his Group 1 debut with a ninth place finish in the Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February before scoring his maiden race win in the Group 2 Henry Bucks Sires Produce (1400m) at Flemington.
Hayes was desperate for Zululand to become the first progeny of Fastnet Rock to win a Group 1 event as a two-year-old and the juvenile was sent to Sydney for a crack at both the Group 1 Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) and Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m).
Zululand made up ground late to finish fifth in the Sires Produce Stakes at Royal Randwick on April 12 and looked as though he was on his way to a Group 1 victory in the Champagne Stakes, but was swamped in the final stages of the race by Go Indy Go.
While Hayes was disappointed Zululand was unable to win a Group 1 event as a juvenile, he was thrilled with his performance in the Champagne Stakes and believes his effort showed that he may be able to develop into a Victoria Derby contender after he runs in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 11.
“The way he finished off the mile) race last time, he may well turn into a Derby horse,” Hayes told TVN yesterday.
“He’ll at least be a Caulfield Guineas horse and we can always see if he looks like getting the Derby trip.”
Fastnet Rock is yet to sire a winner of the Victoria Derby, but has shown he is capable of developing stayers; with Mosheen winning the 2011 Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m), while Super Cool finished second in the 2012 Victoria Derby and ninth in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) last year.
Zululand is currently on the second line of the 2014 Victoria Derby betting market with Ladbrokes Australia at odds of $13, while he is available at a quote of $21 to win the Caulfield Guineas.