Racing: Nerves as $23m buy goes after Coolmore win

By Mike Dillon

Xanadu will go around in the Myer Classic at long odds. Photo / APN
Xanadu will go around in the Myer Classic at long odds. Photo / APN

There will be loads of nervous people in the Flemington grandstands this afternoon.

None more so than the syndicate members who laid out A$20 million ($23 million) for Zoustar earlier in the week.

The horse, described by his trainer Chris Waller as the "hottest 3-year-old in Australia", goes around as the $1.75 favourite in the A$500,000 Coolmore Stud Stakes, the first of the four group ones on the day many rate as world racing's finest.

If Zoustar is beaten it will be the greatest racing shock in years.

If that happens the dinner date tonight you had with the new owners would shrink below a cold pie at the takeaway.

No one is suggesting that, but the A$20 million will seem like a much bigger pile if that happens.

Waller has another hot-shot on the programme, gallant mare Red Tracer, the $2.20 favourite for the A$500,000 Myer Classic.

This time, though, there are doubters.

Red Tracer's best form has been at distances shorter than today's 1600m and 1600m at Flemington is often more like 1800m on any other track.

Red Tracer races with her heart on her sleeve - she will be in the open with the leaders at the 400m with the fearsome Flemington straight staring at her.

"She is good on top of the ground, but she's great when there's rain around," said Waller yesterday.

There will be no rain. As usual the track will be manicured to begin with the 11.20am (1.20pm NZT) first race at a dead 4 and with 26C predicted, the surface is certain to be upgraded by the Myer, which is Race 7.

One who is hoping there are some doubts about Red Tracer is New Zealand trainer Roger James, who is extremely hopeful about the chances of Zonza.

"She has improved since she won first-up here on this trip," said James yesterday.

Zonza was last night rated the $13 fifth favourite and will once again be ridden by Damien Oliver.

New Zealand's other two runners are Zurella ($21), to be ridden by Steven Arnold and Xanadu, who will go around at longer than $30 with Michael Coleman in the saddle.

Looking ahead, Mount Athos was yesterday the biggest betting plunge for Tuesday's A$6.2 million Emirates Melbourne Cup.

The Luca Cumani-trained stayer opened up at $26 more than a month ago and was last night at $7.50 and threatening favouritism.

The current favourite, the Gai Waterhouse-trained Fiorente ($6), was shy of support, according to most bookmakers.

Mount Athos, who will be ridden by Craig Williams, worked in stirring style at the quarantine station at Werribee on Tuesday.

Quotes are varying on some of the European raiders. Mike Moroney's Voleuse De Coeurs, James McDonald's Cup mount, was $12 with the TAB, $13 at Sportingbet and $16.50 on Betfair.

All Cup prices are subject to significant change with tonight's barrier draw and compilation of the final field.

- NZ Herald

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