VRC Derby prospect unleased

Zacada (Matt Cameron), ears pricked and so much to learn, clearing out from his rivals on debut at Rotorua today. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images).

Zacada (Matt Cameron), ears pricked and so much to learn, clearing out from his rivals on debut at Rotorua today. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images).

In the eyes of Andrew Bryant, Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman picked the appropriate venue to unleash their latest potential Victoria Derby prospect.

The country’s leading trainers produced debutante Zacada, a son of Zabeel, to record an impressive debut win in the Marks Ewen & Associates 2YO at Rotorua today and there to greet the exciting youngster in the winner’s stall was Bryant.

Bryant is not only the Vice-President of the Rotorua Racing Club, but also a part-owner and co-breeder of Zacada. Bryant was thrilled to be able to celebrate the win with his associates of his local club.

“It’s a great thrill to see him win like that,” said Bryant. “It’s exciting. We’re looking forward to next season.”

Zacada went into today’s race without the benefit of a trial but after his performance in the hands of Matt Cameron he was the most talked about horse for the rest of the meeting.

“He was impressive all right,” said Baker, whose stable went to 105 wins for the season, six short of the record.

“He’d had a couple of jump-outs and we took him to the trials at Avondale but he leapt over the front of the gates and had to be scratched.

“They were using the old-type gates and I made sure the new gates were in use today otherwise I wouldn’t have run him.

“We gave him another jump-out (at Cambridge) after the trial and he wasn’t a problem. I really like him and I was expecting him to be hard to beat today.

“He can go out for a spell now and he could be a Derby horse. We might have to look to take him to Melbourne.”

Baker won the 2010 Victoria Derby with Lion Tamer and the Flemington feature will be the aim if Zacada comes up as well as hoped. And there are no concerns about him getting the 2500-metre trip on his pedigree, being by sensation sire Zabeel from a daughter of the South Australian Derby winner Showella.

Showella is the dam of New Zealand and Avondale Cups winner Showcause and Zacada’s fourth dam is the mighty Show Gate, one of New Zealand’s greatest mares who won 30 races and was twice NZ Horse Of The Year.

Zacada drew two from the outside in the 1230-metre event today and was trapped three or four-wide in fifth spot. Cameron pushed him along to join the leader on the home turn and he drew clear to win by four and three-quarter lengths from Prodigal Son, who had been runner-up in debut.

“He’s scary with the ability he’s got,” said Cameron as he weighed-in. “He was off the bit for a long way but that was through being green. He doesn’t know what it’s all about.

“You don’t get Zabeels winning two-year-old races first-up like that. He’s exciting.”

Bryant and David Armstrong (who was also on course to celebrate the win) bred and race Zacada under their Andari Ltd banner in partnership with Sir Patrick and Lady Justine Hogan.

The two Rotorua dairy farmers own Zacada’s dam, Lacada (by Giant’s Causeway), and had a foal-sharing arrangement to Zabeel with Sir Patrick and Lady Hogan.

“I’ve known Patrick and Justine for years,” said Bryant. “We were farming neighbours from the late 1970’s in Cambridge for many years.”

The first foal from the arrangement with the Hogans is the Bruce Wallace-trained Giant Turtle, a winner who was runner-up to Baker and Forsman’s stable star, Mongolian Khan, in the Gr. 2 Darci Brahma Waikato Guineas.

“We bought her (Lacada) from Coolmore Stud during a trip to the Hunter Valley,” said Bryant. “She was in foal to Holy Roman Emperor. That foal is Iking (six wins in Australia and Singapore).”

Bryant and Armstrong then lost a filly by Holy Roman Emperor when a day old and Show McCool (by Flying Spur) is her next foal and a winner, followed by the two Zabeels. Lacada now has a weanling filly by Encosta de Lago and is in foal to Declaration Of War.

Bryant and Armstrong have enjoyed their share of success as breeders and owners of the year with their breeding highlight being the Gr. 1 NZ Oaks win of Midnight Oil.

The two Rotorua dairy farmers are now dreaming of Group One success as both owners and breeders with Zacada.