Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
In-form trainer Michael Young is bubbling with confidence that former Victorian pacer Zazu will give punters a flying start to the meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night by winning the opening event, the 2536m Choices Flooring Pace.
Zazu, whose five starts in Western Australia have produced two wins and two seconds, was a $91 outsider last Friday night when he started out wide at barrier No. 6, raced at the rear and did not get into the event, finishing tenth behind Otus.
He is much better suited from the No. 3 barrier this week, with Young declaring the lightly-raced six-year-old will set the pace and relish the role of pacemaker and the 2536m distance.
“He is a good front runner and I think he can lead and win,” Young said. “The journey won’t trouble him. Three starts ago he started from barrier three over 2536m when he set the pace. He ran a quick lead time and still won with the plugs in and by a good margin (by two lengths from Renaissance Art.”
Zazu, named after the feisty red-billed hornbill bird in Disney’s 1994 animated film of The Lion King, will be driven by State’s leading reinsman Gary Hall jnr, with Young engaging Chris Voak to drive Zazu’s smart four-year-old stablemate Doc Holliday from barrier No. 6.
Doc Holliday has impressed in WA with his first five starts in the State producing three wins, a second and a third placing. Voak handled him when he gave an excellent performance last Friday night when he started from barrier eight and raced three wide early and then in the breeze before fighting to finish a close third behind Otis and Know When To Run.
“Doc Holliday is a better horse than Zazu, but I’m tipping Zazu this week because of his better barrier,” said Young.
The Katja Warwick-trained Machnificent (barrier five) and Ross Olivieri’s lightly-raced six-year-old Just Wing It (barrier four) look set to fight out the finish.
Machnificent, a three-year-old who will be driven by Shannon Suvaljko at his first outing for eight weeks, has won at eight of his 29 starts and looks set for an excellent career. Machnificent warmed up for this week’s event with a smart trial win over 2150m at Byford last Sunday week when he raced in last position in a four-horse Indian file affair before running home solidly along the inside to beat the pacemaker Thereugo with a final 400m of 28.1sec.
Just Wing It impressed at his first appearance for nine months when he raced at the rear, was badly blocked for a clear passage and went to the line full of running. He will pay to follow.