TRAINER David Hayes didn’t mince words when assessing the chances of Extra Zero in today’s $170,000 Albury Gold Cup.
“I’m very happy with the horse. The 2000 metres is ideal. We’d be disappointed if he isn’t figuring in the finish,” Hayes said.
The 49-year-old is seeking back-to-back wins in the Albury Cup, with this year’s field arguably the strongest line-up in more than a decade, after Growl (Brad Rawiller) won in 2010.
The last trainer to achieve successive wins was Richard Freyer with Taskwin and Personal Image in 2003-04.
Hayes believes four-year-old Extra Zero has snuck under the guard of many racing pundits.
“Watch the replay of the Blamey Stakes,” Hayes said.
“Extra Zero is still trying to get out.
“He didn’t have a run, no luck whatsoever.
“He should have finished with Whobegotyou and Dao Dao, if not won it.
“He’s coming into the Cup with an eighth placing. It should have been better.”
Extra Zero was beaten under 3-1/2 lengths in the 1600m Blamey won by Whobegotyou from Dao Dao but never saw daylight, going to the post hard held.
As a spring three-year-old Extra Zero, owned by Sydney-based Bob and Jan Bergstrom, finished runner-up to Monaco Consul in the Victoria Derby, underpinning his staying talent.
While his autumn efforts fell short of expectations – Extra Zero scoring one Group Two win over 1800m at Caulfield – the Danzero gelding was thereabouts in high class events.
Last preparation Extra Zero failed to fire, taken quickly through his distances up to 2500m.
“He was gelded last preparation, a bit backward and dour,” Hayes said.
“This time he’s back, back as good as ever, if not better.
“I’ll decide after tomorrow about Sydney.”
Extra Zero is entered for the $2 million Doncaster (1600m) and $2.25 million BMW (2400m).
“The Doncaster might be his race. Gai’s (Waterhouse) mare (More Joyous) is going to get plenty of weight,” Hayes said.
Corey Brown partners Extra Zero who is drawn ideally in barrier two and is on the minimum of 53kg.