Zedpak camp suffers a devastating blow

Zedpak (Sam Collett) earning the Brisbane trip with a strong win at Te Rapa. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images.

A highly promising career is over for Zedpak, who earned the Brisbane trip with a strong win at Te Rapa. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images.

Stephen Marsh’s high hopes for Zedpak have been crushed after a one-race Brisbane campaign.

The Cambridge trainer took Zedpak and stablemate Puntinato to Queensland last week and both horses raced at the Gold Coast meeting last Saturday, but disaster struck with Zedpak breaking down, while Puntinato was an encouraging third.

Zedpak lobbed along in fourth position in the Wideform Handicap, a class 5 1800 metres, but the signs weren’t good as rider Luke Rolls started easing him out of the race from the 600. It soon became evident something was amiss with Zedpak and Rolls pulled him up.

Rolls had been concerned with Zedpak’s action and a post-race veterinary examination revealed the gelding had ruptured an off-fore tendon. Marsh advised stewards the promising stayer would now be retired from racing.

It is a cruel blow for the Zedpak camp as Marsh has always believed he could develop into a top stayer.

“I’ve got a big rap on him,” said Marsh after Zedpak’s fresh-up win at Te Rapa on May 2. “He could be a nice Cups horse around Christmas and I could see him being and Auckland Cup horse.”

Marsh had expected Zedpak to figure prominently last Saturday and was looking forward to giving him a few opportunities in Queensland before concentrating on feature targets next term.

Zedpak raced just eight times for three wins and only twice failed to earn prize money.

“I was gutted with what happened but at least we’ve found a good home for him,” said Marsh. “Save a Horse Australia came to the rescue and they are going to rehabilitate him and give him a future. His injury was too bad to ever consider trying him again as a racehorse.”

While still shell-shocked by Zedpak’s career-ending run, Marsh received a boost when watching Puntinato run an encouraging race for third behind decisive winner Persist over 1400 metres in the next event.

Ridden by Rolls, Puntinato was on the pace from the outset and after looking to be battling halfway down the home straight she rallied well to be beaten two and a half lengths.

The performance was a confidence-booster as Puntinato produced a form reversal, having finished last at Te Aroha in her lead-up to the Brisbane trip. Marsh blamed the Te Aroha run on the heavy track.

Making the effort even more satisfying is the fact she is owned by a Gold Coast syndicate, but for Marsh the outing was Puntinato’s last from his stable.

“The plan was to give her a couple more starts over there in lesser races this campaign then she would stay on and go to another stable there,” said Marsh. “But I talked it over with the owners and decided it would be best to switch her over to another trainer now. She has gone to John Thompson’s Brisbane stable.

“I’m sure she will do well over there. She just needs good ground and she didn’t get it last Saturday so that made her run even better.”