Zaratone is currently available at the lengthy 2015 Warwick Stakes odds of $51, but jockey Kathy O’Hara is not ruling the veteran sprinter out of contention in the Group 2 event at Royal Randwick tomorrow.
Zaratone has not recorded a race win since he took out the Listed Starlight Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on November 30, but he has performed consistently since he returned to the races with a fifth place finish in the Listed Ortensia Stakes (1100m) at Scone on May 16.
The Zariz gelding scored another black-type placing when he finished third in the Listed June Stakes (1100m) at Royal Randwick on June 6 and he was denied by subsequent Aurie’s Star Handicap winner Shiraz in the Tab.Com.Au Handicap (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on July 4 before he finished a very game fourth in the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on August 8.
Zaratone will be stepping up to 1400 metres for the first time since he finished fifth in the ATC Membership On Sale Now Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens in December of 2013 and he has never won over the trip, but Hara is confident that the ten-year-old will give his rivals something to catch in the 2015 Warwick Stakes this weekend.
“It’s a full field and obviously he’s a quick horse,” O’Hara told AAP.
“He’s never won at 1400 metres before, but he’s such a tough old campaigner I couldn’t completely rule him out.
“He loves his racing and he loves his job,”
“He’s an old marvel.
“He’s won 17 races and he’s going as good as ever.”
O’Hara has ridden Zaratone in 23 of his race starts and is chasing her first race win on the horse that she considers her favourite ever galloper since he won the 2012 edition of the Group 3 Sebring Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on April 7.
The leading female hoop will be riding in the Warwick Stakes for the first time since she finished eighth on Zingam in 2005 and has a strong book of rides at Royal Randwick tomorrow, which is highlighted by debut winner Cannyescent in the Group 3 Up And Coming Stakes (1300m).
Zaratone is currently available at 2015 Warwick Stakes odds of $51 with Ladbrokes, while First Seal ($2.90) is a clear favourite from Kermadec ($6.50), Royal Descent ($7) and It’s Somewhat ($7.50).