Racing: Zurella up to usual tricks

By Mike Dillon

Bad-tempered mare hits Hutchings with both barrels before winning trial to confirm trip.

Zurella is off to Sydney to contest the Coolmore Classic after winning at the Cambridge trials yesterday. Photo / Daily Telegraph
Zurella is off to Sydney to contest the Coolmore Classic after winning at the Cambridge trials yesterday. Photo / Daily Telegraph

The list of those classy mare Zurella has injured grew longer at yesterday's Cambridge barrier trials.

Hamilton apprentice Rory Hutchings had just been legged upon the Graeme and Debbie Rogerson-trained Contest for the second of the open 1200m heats when Zurella lashed out and kicked him on his right shin with both hind feet.

The sickening impact of the twin kicks tore a deep hole in the talented rider's shin.

Ambulance staff attending the trials stapled the wound and Hutchings was taken from the course to have the area stitched.

Before Hutchings left, Graeme Rogerson said: "He's tough, he'll be riding on Saturday for sure."

Hutchings wasn't saying a lot.

To prove you can put up with bitchy racemares if they are talented (read Sunline), Zurella went out and produced a magnificent trial just before her departure for a Sydney campaign.

Carrying a decent weight with an overweight Jason Waddell aboard, Zurella just won without ever being asked for anything like a high gear.

Rick Williams, manager of The Oaks Stud mare, and trainer Shaune Ritchie agreed: "We couldn't have hoped for anything better than that."

Said Jason Waddell: "She tracked up beautifully and did only what she had to do."

Zurella is being aimed at the Coolmore Classic on Saturday week.

"We'll leave it until Thursday next week to fly her over," said Ritchie.

"We don't want to leave her time to settle in because we know what antics she can get up to."

Zurella will carry only 53kg in the Coolmore, ruling out James McDonald as her rider, with Craig Newitt a possible replacement.

Burgundy finished just behind the placegetters in Zurella's heat. He got a long way off the leaders and trucked home nicely down the outside.

"He rounded it off nicely," said trainer Jason Bridgman. "He'll go to the 1400m at Awapuni on the 30th and if he does well there he'll be going to the Queensland winter carnival."

The Roger James-trained Beyond All Doubt won the other open 1200m heat nicely from Military Move, No Nonsense and Sum Up.

The Murray Baker/Andrew Forsman stable had a good haul at the trials, but part of Murray Baker's attention was across the Tasman, where he will saddle Dundeel (It's A Dundeel) at Warwick Farm on Saturday.

Dundeel has been stabled in Sydney with Baker's son Bjorn. "I'd better get over there before Bjorn takes credit if the horse wins on Saturday."

A win in the A$500,000 Randwick Guineas would surprise no one.

Its A Dundeel turned in a magnificent fourth first-up in the too-short 1400m Stakes behind gun gallopers Pierro and Rebel Dane, coming from a long way back on the home bend.

He was hitting the line strongly and will be greatly assisted by the step up to 1600m this time.

Baker has added blinkers this time in an attempt to have the colt stay handier to the pace for the first half of the race.

Co-trainer Trent Busuttin said yesterday there was less likelihood of Auckland Cup winner Sangster going to the Singapore Cup in May.

"We really wanted to go to this race - it's a great opportunity."

However, Busuttin said the quarantine regulations make it very difficult for this particular trip.

"Australia take in only one scoop of quarantine horses a month from Singapore and we would miss that by two days.

"It means Sangster would be required to stay another month and that would make it impossible to give him a proper preparation for the Melbourne Cup if that's the way we decided to go.

"If we could have got straight out of Singapore we'd be going forsure."

Sangster will tackle the Ranvet Stakes in Sydney then provided he races well in that the A$60,000 late entry will be paid to run in The BMW Stakes over 2400m at Rosehill on April 6, when Ruud Awakening lines up in the Golden Slipper.

- NZ Herald

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