A masterful ride on Zoustar by Jimmy Cassidy has given him Group One win No.99 and trainer Chris Waller his first Golden Rose victory.
Zoustar had no favours from the outside gate but after initial wariness, punters warmed to the colt and he was crunched from $12 to $7.50 in Saturday’s $1 million race at Rosehill.
He wasn’t the best out of the barriers and settled back in the field with just two runners behind him.
He came widest on the turn and unleashed a superb finishing sprint to hold off a spirited challenge from Dissident ($9) by a neck.
Bull Point ($31) was the eye-catcher, running 1-1/2 lengths third after being around 10 lengths off the second last horse at the 800m mark.
No stranger to winning big races, Waller said the Golden Rose (1400m) had an extra bonus.
“He is a serious colt and now he is a very valuable colt,” Waller said.
“I had a lot of respect for his sire Northern Meteor and I have a lot of respect for him.
“I don’t think I’ve fully tested him yet, even in track gallops.
“He barely had time to put his head down after the Queensland winter.
“This race today was the telling point as to whether he was a serious horse or not and he is a serious horse.”
Zoustar is from the first crop left by Northern Meteor who died prematurely in July.
Cassidy said Zoustar, who finished second in the Group One J J Atkins in Brisbane, was still immature.
“He is still really a two-year-old,” he said.
“He is a kid in a three-year-old’s body. He needed cover and things went right.”
Waller went to stewards earlier in the day to say he would not tie Cassidy down to tactics from barrier.
“I told the stewards if he jumped well we would go forward, if he didn’t we needed him to get cover,” he said.
“I was actually relieved when he missed the start because it meant he could get some cover early and not be stuck wide.”
Glyn Schofield, the rider of Bull Point, said his colt was in a bad mood until the business end of the race.
“He was in a foul mood in the barrier but not from the 800 metres,” he said.
“Horses don’t do what he’s just done. He wouldn’t go early.”
Waller said plans for Zoustar remained fluid with the Caulfield Guineas and the Coolmore Stud Stakes both on the horizon.
“I’m leaning to the Caulfield Guineas,” Waller said.
“We can always go back in distance.”
Fast `N’ Rocking ($4.80) was sent out favourite but could only manage 10th while Prince Harada who eased from $4.80 to $6.50, had no favours from the inside gate and finished fifth.
“He is a cracking horse,” Prince Harada’s jockey Hugh Bowman said.
“I just saw too many rumps.”
Cassidy could have the chance in seven days time to rack up his inevitable century of Group One winners.
“If Hawkspur runs in the George Main Stakes, that’s where it will happen,” he said.
“If not, we’ll wait another week.”