Kerrin McEvoy guides Zydeco home in the Wakeful Stakes.WAKEFUL STAKES
ANTHONY Freedman knows all about potential, he has seen far too many horses fail to deliver on their promise, and so he was relieved as much as pleased when Victoria Oaks favourite Zydeco stormed to victory in the Wakeful Stakes on Saturday.
Eye-catching runs in the Edward Manifold Stakes and then the Thousand Guineas, when third behind Commanding Jewel, had stamped Zydeco as a filly with immense potential, but Freedman wanted proof that she was indeed as good as he had hoped.
”That’s what I hoped for, I think she’s very good,” he said. ”It didn’t surprise me, but you still like to see it.
”She only does what she is asked to do, and I think if it got tough she would dig in. She came on very late in spring and she was thereabouts, but we liked her.
”Her first run was solid, she went to a maiden and won that, and she has just kept lifting each time. Hopefully, she can do it again.”
In a race that was billed as a clash between the Clarry Connors-trained Dear Demi and Zydeco, Freedman was uncomplicated when instructing jockey Kerrin McEvoy and made a point of emphasising the filly’s stout bloodlines to the in-form jockey. By Zabeel out of Thousand Guineas winner All Time High, Zydeco is bred for strength.
”I said to Kerrin, ‘You’ve got natural stamina on your side, don’t be afraid to sit wider when the runs come’. He rode it perfectly and she should enjoy the mile and a half [2500 metres] on Thursday,” Freedman said.
And McEvoy did just that, keeping Zydeco widest of all off the home turn so that the filly could build speed with an uninterrupted run down the straight.
But for Dear Demi, the home straight resembled a traffic-packed Epsom Road on race day, with jockey Jim Cassidy unable to find clear running, eventually running into fourth place.
Zydeco’s two-length margin to runner-up Maraatib and third-placed Transonic impressed McEvoy and the in-form jockey is looking forward to adding to his spring carnival tally on Thursday in the $1 million Crown Oaks.
”She stays well and she has got that turn of foot, which is exactly what you need to cover them up when you are giving them a start like that,” he said. ”She was able to lob into a spot and get a nice rhythm and she will settle and run the Oaks trip no worries. I’m looking forward to it.”
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