Zululand stamped himself as one of Australia’s most promising juveniles when an explosive turn of foot saw him career away with the G2 VRC Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Australia.
In doing Zululand became the first group winner for The China Horse Club in Australia in what is only its second year of racing in the region. Zululand also joined Foxwedge and Smart Missile as only the third son of the champion sire Fastnet Rock to win a G2 as a juvenile.
The regally bred colt is now likely to head to Sydney for the $1 million G1 ATC Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) where he will be given his chance to enhance his already commercial profile on Championship Day.
Trainer David Hayes has long held Zululand in high regard and his assessment after the G2 VRC Sires Produce Stakes win hinted that the son of Fastnet Rock could be even better once he reaches 1600m.
“Being a Fastnet Rock, they just get better as their preparations go on. They are just not built for those early two-year-old races and they get better and better as the season goes on,” Hayes said.
“He’s just been crying out for the distance and unfortunately in Australia, they don’t run seven-furlong (1400m) two-year-old races until now.
“The first one (1400m race) that stepped up, he got the job done so it was really good.
“He’s invited himself into the $1 million Sires’ in Sydney and probably the $500,000 Champagne (Stakes). They are stallion-making races and he’s got a stallion’s pedigree and we have got to get him there.”
Zululand dwelt at the start slightly and settled third last after jockey Stephen Baster had to restrain him because he began over racing when a rival kick up on his inside. But once settled the near black colt relaxed well for Baster, lopping along on a comfortable stride albeit some nine or 10 lengths off the leaders.
Turning for home Zululand looked to be in an awkward position but Baster was able to pull him to the outside of the field for a clear run down the long Flemington straight. The red and yellow colours of China Horse Club were conspicuous on Zululand some seven or eight lengths off the leaders with 400m to run but under strong riding the colt kicked into overdrive to produce a sizzling final burst to finish a comfortable length and a half winner.
Mr Teo Ah Khing, the Chairman of the China Horse Club, was unable to be present on the day but was delighted to be able to share such a success with Coolmore, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and John Murray.
“Winning notable races is always a great thrill but to do so with partners like John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and John Murray is particularly exciting,” Mr Teo said.
“These gentlemen and their families are wonderful contributors to the sport and I’m delighted that our members can share a moment like this with them.
“A little under 12 months ago we sat down with Coolmore and its partners to discuss a targeted plan to buy a selection of high quality colts. When you do that you are always hoping to have moments like this so today’s result was great to see.
“It is a fantastic result for the China Horse Club and its members. It’s a fantastic result as well for David and his team. It is never easy when you have high profile colts like this and Wilderness.”
Zululand was one of three exceptionally credentialed sons of Fastnet Rock that was purchased in partnership by the CHC, Coolmore and its associates at last year’s Australian Easter Yearling Sale. It was the second of three occasions that the partnership has been active together with a foray to Tattersalls’ Newmarket sales ring in 2012 netting the wonderfully gifted Australia who is among the leading elects for this year’s 2000 Guineas and Epsom Derby.
Last year the partnership also targeted the last crop of yearlings by Montjeu at Tattersalls when purchasing four colts by the deceased champion sire.