The addition of blinkers and a sharp trial give jockey Tom Marquand some hope that Zou Tiger can turn the tables on Aft Cabin from their first-up clash when they meet for the fourth time this prep at Randwick on Saturday.
While the score is 2-1 to Zou Tiger it was the Godolphin colt who prevailed over the same course as the Group 2 $1m Arrowfield Sprint (1200m) back in February.
That race was the Eskimo Prince and Marquand said the John O’Shea trained colt is so honest and has him quietly confident of settling some unfinished business when they reunite.
Of course Marquand was injured a week after Zou Tiger’s first-up second to Aft Cabin in the Eskimo Prince so missed the rides in the Hobartville and Randwick Guineas where he ran second and third respectively with Aft Cabin unplaced.
“I’m a big fan of him as a horse,’’ he said.
“He was really impressive in the trial and he felt great. He needs to go to the track and prove it now but he’s pointing the right way.”
There wasn’t a lot between Zou Tiger, $5 with TAB on Thursday, and Aft Cabin in the Randwick Guineas (1600m) a month ago.
For what it’s worth Marquand said perhaps the three-year-old doesn’t quite run out a strong mile so is backing O’Shea’s judgment is freshening the horse up.
“When he ran over the mile it looked like it was a step too far for him,’’ he said.
“He’s a lovely horse and John’s really hood at bringing horses through a prep.”
James Cummings said Aft Cabin hasn’t been disgraced despite missing a place in both the Hobartville and Randwick Guineas, particularly the latter.
He went back to the trials on March 21 and scored a narrow win over stablemate Kementari in a 1045m heat.
“He didn’t get beaten far in the Randwick Guineas and it’s not like he wilted and got beaten eight lengths,’’ Cummings said.
“He did run fourth, he didn’t run 14th. He’s been able to run well this prep apart from the Hobartville where things didn’t go his way. Six furlongs looks spot on.”
The Arrowfield has unearthed some smart three-year-olds over the years – in recent times Everest winner Classique Legend announced his arrival winning in 2019, while the Snowdens have won the last two editions with subsequent Group 1 winners Wild Ruler and Mazu.
“I think the hors is going to run a very good race,’’ Cummings said.
“He has shown us he’s dangerously well in the lead up to this race.”
– Racing NSW