Zac Kasa has 'massive talent'
Trainer Cliff Brown's promising grey in a hurry for Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge
Three-year-old Zac Kasa seems to have a bright future, from the way his trainer and jockey heaped praises on him after his victory at Kranji on Sunday.
Trainer Cliff Brown asserted that his charge was only 70 per cent fit but yet the grey gelding white-washed his opposition in the $85,000 Restricted Maiden race over 1,200m.
After the race, jockey Michael Rodd labelled his winning mount as a "massive talent".
Mind you, Sunday's race was only Zac Kasa's second, so he will have plenty of room for improvement.
Considered by many as the certainty of the day, Zac Kasa had put the writing on the wall with two scintillating barrier- trial wins with an aggregate of more than 10 lengths.
But Brown still thought he was not entirely bombproof especially regarding his barrier, manners and fitness level.
However, with the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge around the corner - it kicks off on March 30 with the Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint over 1,200m - the Australian handler had to hasten up procedures a little.
Showing the same natural speed as at his barrier trials, Zac Kasa flew the lids to take up the running without spending much petrol, leaving the rest of his seven rivals well strung out.
Rodd did not have to do much, other than point Zac Kasa in the right direction until Lim's Zoom (Glen Boss) came charging at the 300m mark.
But, once Rodd let some rein slip through his hands, Zac Kasa responded with a few leaps and bounds, which left Lim's Zoom standing for a few seconds.
Then, that fitness query which had bugged Brown before the race did not take long to come into question as Zac Kasa started to get the staggers.
Luckily for the $6 favourite and his legion of backers, Lim's Zoom also looked to be hitting his peak.
Running on fumes, Zac Kasa was able to hold a one-and-a-quarter-length margin from Lim's Zoom.
Newcomer Ban The Doubt (Vlad Duric) finished third, nearly four lengths away.
The winning time was a smart 1min 09.68sec for the 1,200m on the Long Course C.
A relieved Brown said the race went exactly as he had anticipated and feared for the former colt, who was gelded after his debut third in a Restricted Maiden race over 1,200m last October.
"To be honest, he was only 70 per cent fit, but he had to run today to make the three-year-old series," he said.
"I was panicking in the last bit but, to be fair, he was entitled to get tired. He has just the one small gallop a week for seven to eight weeks while he spends most of his time at the barriers.
"I'd like to thank the whole team who looked after him at the barriers, Sabri, my track rider, and the two Singapore Turf Club starters, Damien Kinninmont and John Pepe. They've all done an amazing job.
"He's been a hard horse to take to the gates, but anything else, he's done perfectly."
Rodd said he was just the passenger aboard a horse he described as a "massive talent", but who had still not reached his full potential yet.
"He's a massive talent. Cliff doesn't usually bring horses who are not 100 per cent fit but the 3YO series start soon," said the Australian jockey.
"I was just the passenger today. He had the blinkers on, and I just kept him going at a steady pace.
"He did get tired at the end. With his fitness level, and the way he went early, he had to stop.
"Full credit to the barrier staff and Sabri, Cliff's main track rider. I was just sitting on him.
"He is a big talent, but he just needs to get his mind right."