Derby hopes remain alive for Zabeelionaire with trainer Leon Corstens setting his sights on next month’s South Australian Classic with the three-year-old.
Corstens said the son of Zabeel would be on trial at Caulfield on Saturday for the SA Derby (2500m) on May 5 and needed to show a marked improvement in the 2000-metre event to make the trip to Adelaide.
Zabeelionaire was being aimed at last Saturday’s Australian Derby but Corstens pulled the pin after his last-start fifth over 1700 metres at Caulfield.
Corstens said this week’s extra distance and a 1.5kg claim for apprentice Jake Noonan would leave Zabeelionaire with no excuses.
“I am looking forward to this race after he was a bit disappointing last time,” Corstens said.
Zabeelionaire raced handy when he won his maiden by eight lengths at Geelong two starts ago but when ridden forward again at Caulfield was one-paced to the line and finished two lengths from the winner Red Typhoon.
Glen Boss has ridden Zabeelionaire at his last two starts but Corstens chose Noonan because of his claim when the colt got 59.5kg on Saturday.
Corstens will instruct Noonan to be patient on Zabeelionaire to give him every chance to finish off the race strongly.
“I think he is better held up so we will try it this week and see how we go,” Corstens said.
“His work has been very, very good and he should be winning races.”
Corstens said he wouldn’t hesitate to geld Zabeelionaire if he failed on Saturday.
“He should be as good as gold, if not we will geld him and turn him out,” he said.
Zabeelionaire has been as promising as he has been frustrating for his connections and has only won once in nine starts.
However he has been competitive in some of the bigger three-year-old races this season including last year’s Victoria Derby (2500m) when fourth to Sangster.
He also finished fourth in the Group Two Stutt Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley and fifth in the Group Three Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield.
He is among 33 entries for Saturday’s Caulfield event which also include Red Typhoon, last-start Listed Galilee Final winner Backbone, The New Boy, Tower Of Lonhro, who has won his last three starts, and Niconoise.