Promising South Island stayer Son Of Zac gave his rivals a start and a comprehensive beating when taking out the NZI Great Autumn Handicap (2500m) at Riccarton on the weekend.
A gutsy last start run for fourth carrying 59kgs under the weight-for-age conditions of the Gr.3 Canterbury Gold Cup (2000m) had punters install the four-year-old Zacinto gelding as one of the main fancies as he dropped down to a luxurious 54.5kgs for Saturday’s contest.
Handled superbly by rider Courtney Barnes, Son Of Zac followed his normal racing pattern as he ambled out of the starting gates to settle a conspicuous last during the early running. Barnes perked her charge up approaching the 800m mark and Son Of Zac tacked on to the back of the field before starting a searching run out wide approaching the home bend.
Barnes had a lapful of horse at that stage and as the pacemakers began to fade, Son Of Zac surged to the lead before charging clear to win by a conservative ten lengths at the finish line.
Co-trainer Kevin Hughes had a grin from ear-to-ear as he waited for his stable favourite to make his way back to the winner’s enclosure.
“He was pretty good today,” he said.
“I’m thrilled for him as that weight-for-age run was a big effort. Taking the 4kgs off his back made a huge difference.”
Hughes admitted he had his doubts about Son Of Zac’s ability to stretch out to the 2500m distance, but the performance may make him reconsider that fact.
“I’m scratching my head now as he’s got me a bit confused,” he said.
“There’s not much of him although in the last month he’s started to come up in the wither, put on some weight and grow a little bit.
“I think next year he will be a lovely horse.”
The win was Son Of Zac’s fifth from 21 career starts and took his earnings to just shy of the $115,000 mark. – NZ Racing Desk
Son Of Zac romps home at Riccarton