David Hayes believes he has Caulfield winner Extra Zero’s racing career back on track after he lost his way after being gelded 12 months ago.
The Danzero five-year-old, who hadn’t won since the Group Two Autumn Classic (1800m) at Caulfield 19 months ago, was too strong for his rivals in Saturday’s Sportingbet Hcp (1700m).
It was only Extra Zero’s third win in 27 starts, the other being as a two-year-old in the 2009 Anzac Day Stakes (1410m) at Flemington.
He was runner-up in the 2009 Group Two Bill Stutt Stakes (1600m) and Group One Victoria Derby (2500m), but after he didn’t come up last spring he was gelded.
“His world caved in for a while when he was gelded but he ran second in the Albury Cup last autumn and has come back well this preparation,” Hayes said.
Hayes said Extra Zero “put the writing on the wall” when runner-up to Carnero over 1600m at Moonee Valley at his second run in on September 10 before Saturday’s breakthrough.
Ridden by Craig Williams, Extra Zero ($5) enjoyed a good run in the second half of the field and came home strongly to score by a half-length from Avienus ($7) with Hong Kong galloper Mighty High ($6) working home well to be 2-1/2 lengths away third.
“It was a terrific ride by Craig. He goes well at Caulfield but he needs to step up a bit more than this race,” Hayes said.
“I just wanted to give him a soft kill today. I think he can get to Group Three level.”
Hayes was very happy with the run of Roma Giaconda who earned $50,000 for running second to Manawanui who dominated Saturday’s Group Two Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill.
The Magic Albert filly had won an Albury maiden (1400m) at her previous start and had been scratched from a race at Morphettville in preference to running in Sydney.
“It was a bit of a gamble but we had a little practice on the Sydney leg at Albury and I think she is a pretty good filly,” Hayes said.
“We’ve placed her conservatively but we will get pretty aggressive now with her.”