Zululand has stamped himself as a serious Group 1 player for The Championships in Sydney with a barnstorming victory in the G2 VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.
The Lindsay Park colt settled back in the field before unleashing an impressive finish to run away from minor placegetters Awesome Rock and Marcado. He was bred and sold by Kia-Ora Stud for $1.50 million at the 2013 Inglis Easter yearling sale and is raced by a syndicate that includes Coolmore partners Sue Magnier and Michael Tabor.
Zululand (2c Fastnet Rock – Dream Play) was never sighted in the G1 Blue Diamond Stakes last month and trainer David Hayes put the improvement down to the extra distance of Saturday’s race.
“I don’t think there’s much doubt he’ll be even better when he gets to 1600 metres,” Hayes said. “The Fastnet Rocks just get better as their preparations go on. They are just not built for those early two-year-old races. He’s just been crying out for 1400 metres.”
Zululand will now head to Sydney for races such as the Group 1 ATC Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) and Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Randwick. “He’s invited himself into those races,” Hayes continued. “They are stallion-making races and he’s got a stallion’s pedigree.”
Hayes took Von Costa de Hero from a VRC Sires’ Produce win to a nose second place in the Golden Slipper in 2008 and he believes Zululand will be better suited to 1400m and 1600m.
Zululand’s brother will be offered by Kia-Ora Stud as Lot 417 at this year’s Inglis Easter Yearling Sale in April.