Veteran gelding Zaratone will make sure that the Listed Starlight Stakes (1100m) is run at a good pace at Rosehill Gardens tomorrow; with trainer Bjorn Baker confirming that the popular grey will take his normal position at the front of the field.
Baker attempted to get Zaratone to settle off the speed last preparation but the son of Zariz did not handle the change in tactics and finished towards the tail of the field in the Listed June Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on June 8.
Zaratone reverted to his usual racing style in his three subsequent runs during his winter campaign and finished an unlucky third in the Sydney Markets Limited Handicap (1400m) and second in the Tab.Com.Au Handicap (1100m) before recording his first win in over a year in the Alpha Flight Services Handicap (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on July 20.
The eight-year-old started his summer campaign with a fifth place finish in the Lidoran Group Spring Handicap (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on November 2 and improved to finish third behind Heart Testa and Cape Kidnappers in the Diamond Beach Handicap (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens a fortnight ago.
Zaratone is likely to get an uncontested lead in the Starlight Stakes this weekend and Baker told Sky Racing HQ that he is confident that the Group 3 winning can run a big race at his favourite track and distance.
“Last prep was the first prep for me and we actually tried to ride him off the pace and it was a disaster,” Baker said.
“We reverted to plan A and I think that is the only plan.
“He will jump and run and hopefully he is strong at the finish.
“He does like Rosehill and he loves the 1100m trip and he is a definite chance.
“He is third-up tomorrow, he gets a little bit of weight reprieve and he is in good order.
“It is raining here at the moment and he can handle the track no matter what it is.
“He is great to have around and he is a lovely horse and he has good ability so it is even better.”
Heart Testa ($2.80) is the clear favourite in Starlight Stakes betting but there has been a sprinkling of support for Zaratone who is available at odds of $6.50 to win the Listed event for the second time in his racing career.