Operation reignites Wolf’s interest

Mongolian Wolf kicking on strongly to beat his stablemate    at Rotorua today.

Mongolian Wolf kicking on strongly to beat his stablemate Break My Stride(nearest camera)  at Rotorua today.

Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman have been successful in getting a couple of their promising young horses back on the right track.

Zacada and Mongolian Wolf have both returned to top form in recent weeks after failing to live up to early promise.

Zacada, a son of Zabeel, will attempt to complete a hat trick of wins when contesting the Aztech Signs 2100 at Tauranga on Friday, while Mongolian Wolf bounced back to winning form in the Jakkalberry 1400 at Rotorua today.

A debut win as a late two-year-old at Tauranga promised a bright future for Mongolian Wolf, but then he had “other things” on his mind.

He did go on from that maiden win in heavy ground to finish fourth to Manhattan Street in similar going in the Listed Courtesy Ford Ryder Stakes (his second start) at Otaki, but then after a break he failed to figure in the finish in his next two starts, winding up last in the Listed Tavistock Northland Breeders Stakes then second-last in the Gr.3 Manuka Doctor Bonecrusher Stakes.

“Basically because he was a colt he lost interest so we’ve gelded him,” said Forsman. “We did give him a trial at Te Aroha (last month) and he didn’t show a lot of interest there either, but he’s a quality horse, he’s a lovely looker and had shown us ability.”

Mongolian Wolf turned his form around at Rotorua in the hands of Matt Cameron when getting home by a nose from his stablemate, the favourite Break My Stride.

Cameron stirred him up in the early stages but then allowed him to settle second-last as the pace went on. Mongolian Wolf was held up briefly at the 500 then once into the home straight he came between horses to challenge for the lead and finish off in a head-bobber with Break My Stride.

“I think the key was he got the better run than the other horse (Break My Stride) and saved ground,” said Forsman. “It’s good to see him back.”

Break My Stride, ridden by Jason Waddell, also did perform well. After being third one-off the fence, he was taken wide approaching the home turn and looked the winner halfway down the straight but missed getting in the deciding stride.

Mongolian Wolf, as the name suggests, races in the colours of the Inner Mongolia Rider Horse Industry, which enjoyed multiple Group One success with a former stablemate Mongolian Khan, a dual Derby winner and Caulfield Cup victor.

“We’ve always thought he would get over ground,” said Forsman of the three-year-old son of Pluck.

Cameron will be reunited with Zacada on Friday after being aboard in the first two of his three wins. He rode him in his successful debut at Rotorua as a late two-year-old in July 2015 after which Zacada failed to show his ability in two starts in Melbourne.

Zacada, pictured completing a double when winning at Thames, looks a big chance again at Tauranga on Friday.

Zacada, pictured completing a double when winning at Thames, looks a big chance again at Tauranga on Friday.

Cameron later ran third on him in both the Listed Gr.3 Wellington Stakes at Trentham and Listed BMW 3YO Salver at Ellerslie and had been his regular rider late last year.

Third-up from a spell, they finished a close third at Ellerslie, then went one better on the track 11 days later when second to Cohabitate. Another second followed behind Saturday’s Wellington Cup candidate Clarify at Te Rapa before Zacada broke through for a long-awaited second win, scoring by five lengths at Ellerslie over 2100 metres with Cameron again in the saddle.

Craig Grylls rode him in his most recent win, at Thames on January 8, and the manner in which Zacada prevailed suggests he will again be hard to beat on Friday despite climbing from Rating 75 to Rating 85 company.

“He’s been a tough character from day one,” said Baker. “We’ve always thought he was a pretty good horse and we took him to Australia as a three-year-old, but his brain wasn’t in tune with his ability.”

Grylls echoed Baker’s sentiments after riding him in his latest win, having also been aboard when Zacada contested both the Waikato Guineas (sixth) and Avondale Guineas (10th) as well as a couple of trials.

“He was pretty cantankerous when I rode him early on,” said Grylls. “His racing manners are pretty good now.”