Eagle Farm trainer Kelso Wood is hoping for a change of luck for his talented mare Zero Rock when barrier draws for this Saturday’s Tattersall’s Tiara are released today.
Zero Rock’s recent Brisbane winter campaign has been plagued by unfavourable barrier draws which have arguably cost her the win in her last three races.
“I’m thrilled with the way she’s been going but it could have been better with any luck with barriers,” Wood said.
“She should have won one and maybe even all three of them had she drawn a better barrier.”
Zero Rock’s most recent run was in the $1 million Stradbroke Handicap on June 11, where she finished third behind Sincero and Beaded.
Wood believes that she could have won the race had she not drawn barrier 11.
“She was wide all the way without cover,” he said.
The trainer had directed jockey Tim Clark to try and find some early cover.
“I told him to try and find a bit of cover if he could,” Wood said.
“In hindsight he could have gone forward and sat outside the leader.”
Fortunately for Wood, Zero Rock has incredible gate speed, allowing her to overcome wide barriers quickly.
“She always pings from the gates,” Wood said.
Wood is hoping that this weekend’s Tattersall’s Tiara, which was formerly known as the Winter Stakes, will be Zero Rock’s turn to draw well in the barriers.
“That would be ideal,” Wood said of the prospect of an inside gate.
“It’s going to be a hard race and it would be good to have everything in her favour when they are so evenly matched.
“She has a good finish and the plan in all these races was to get the rider to sit quietly (on her).
“Barriers come along and you can’t do what you want to do.”
Wood believes this Saturday’s Tiara will be one of the toughest fields Zero Rock will ever face, and rates Beaded and Varenna Miss as her biggest threats.
“Beaded and the horse of Tony Noonan’s (Varenna Miss) goes all right too,” he said.
“But there’s about five or six chances.”
Wood feels that Zero Rock is in great shape for this weekend’s run and has booked Brisbane jockey Chris Munce for the ride.
“Chris Munce is going to ride her,” Wood said.
“She’s really done well, you wouldn’t think she had a run.
“Her work was very good.”
Wood said that he is planning on making no change to Zero Rock’s work before the Tiara, feeling that she doesn’t need any further improvement.
“I don’t think so, she just needs a bit of luck in running,” Wood said.
“She’s got her routine and I like to stick to it, she gets cranky otherwise.”
Wood is also hoping his eight-year-old gelding Anyways will have more luck next time around, after the horse finished eighth in the Listed Eye Liner Stakes last weekend after he was blocked for a run.
“He’s still trying to get out I think!” Wood joked.
Wood believes that had Anyways had a chance to get out, he would have been a real threat to the leaders.
“He’d be right in the finish because he can get to the line,” he said.
The trainer purchased Anyways as an older horse from Victoria, and the gelding has enjoyed many successes since joining Wood’s stables.
“He hasn’t put a foot wrong,” Wood said.
“He had a bit of feet problems but he’s going really good.”
Anyways will now most likely be aimed at the Listed Glasshouse Handicap at the Sunshine Coast on July 2.
“I’m tossing up whether to go to the Glasshouse or the Ascot Handicap,” Wood said.
“If the Ascot Handicap was still 1400 I’d be heading for that.
“(But) I’ll probably go to the Glasshouse.”
Another recent addition to the Wood stable is five-year-old gelding Belltone, who has won both of his two starts for the trainer.
“He’s only had two runs for us and he’s won two races,” Wood said.
“I find him a very smart horse.”