Trainer Leon Corstens is hoping to get a consolation win after a fruitless Winter with his Group 1 winner Zabeelionaire when he lines up in the $100,000 Gala Supreme Handicap (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Cortsens took Zabeelionaire to Queensland for the Winter Carnival hoping to add another Group 1 win to his record after winning last year’s Group 1 $500,000 Centrebet South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville on May 5.
But the Zabeel four year old was hampered by wet tracks and failed to beat a runner home when thirteenth to Beaten Up in the Group 1 $500,000 Kirks Doomben Cup (2000m) at Doomben on May 18.
Then after finishing last of six on a slow track in the Group 2 $250,000 Al Basti Equiworld Eagle Farm Cup (2200m) at Eagle Farm on June 1, Corstens left Queensland without another start.
The wet weather set in and Corstens and Zabeelionaire were left stranded and were forced to scratch from the Listed $200,000 Channel 7 Ipswich Cup (2150m), the Group 3 $200,000 Carlton Draught Tattersall’s Cup (2200m) at Eagle Farm and the Listed $200,000 Yalumba Caloundra Cup (2400m) at the Sunshine Coast.
“The owners have sunk a fortune into the horse going to Queensland; we scratched him three times because of wet tracks so it was quite a costly trip,” Corstens said.
“He’ll run on Saturday if everything goes right during the week and we don’t get a wet track.”
“I’m really happy with the horse but he’s a bit of a drought breaker.”
Even though Zabeelionaire has been able to keep the rain Gods busy, he is long overdue for a win and Corstens is hoping that his own drought will be broken on Saturday.
Zabeelionaire hasn’t been in the winner’s stall since his memorable Derby victory fourteen months ago and gets his best chance against a handy field of stayers.
Among the early entries for Saturday are the well performed Exceptionally, The Cleaner, the Peter Moody quartet of Dayita, Hanks, Storm Burst and Oregon Spirit and Chris Waller’s pair of Illo and Done Nothin’ Wrong.
Exceptionally will be fitter for one run back from a spell when eighth over 1600m at Moonee Valley on June 29 and will be better suited over this distance after showing some good Spring form.
While The Cleaner, who scored first up over 1610m at Flemington on June 22 has to turn his form around after finishing down the track last start over the same course and distance.
Corstens will be anxiously watching the weather map with showers predicted for Melbourne later in the week.