Zaratone Wins ACTTAB TC Cup

By: Alex Steedman 

Nick Olive-trained Zaratone has made it three consecutive wins on the Acton synthetic surface as he held on over the concluding stages to win the ACTTAB Tony Campbell Memorial Cup (1280m) at Thoroughbred Park.

Well supported in betting, Zaratone looked set to be a major player in the Tony Campbell Cup after his last start where he posted a 5.5 length victory in track record time over 1206m.

Working against the Nick Olive-trained gallopers chances in the event was a class rise and being stretched out to 1280m however Zaratone took the new challenges in his stride.

Right from the start it appeared business as usual with the smart sprinter jumping ideally and going to the front for jockey Richard Bensley.

The pair enjoyed an uncontested lead throughout and gave their rivals a tough ask as they kicked clear at the top of the straight.

While the margin was reduced over the concluding stages, Zaratone had done enough in the early part of the straight to hold on and win the Tony Campbell Cup.

Nick Olive was full of praise for jockey Richard Bensley and Zaratone who had previously voiced concerns about the five-year-olds ability to run out 1280m.

“Everyone said this horse wouldn’t run past 1000m,” Olive said.

“I am just so proud of the horse and so proud of Richie for riding him so well at his last three starts.”

“They probably went a touch harder than I would have liked but nothing took him on which was great and he stole that break at the top of the straight. He just breaks their hearts and it’s a struggle to catch him.

“The only reason he ran the distance was because of the way Richie rode him. If he was ridden any differently he wouldn’t have run it.

“This is a really enjoyable win and a great effort from the team. To push this horse out to what he has done and to win this race is unbelievable, I’m just really happy.”

It was a local trifecta as Keith Dryden-trained Vilakazi Street and Bernie Howlett-trained Trescorpioni ran home strongly to fill the placings.

Today’s Tony Campbell Cup was Olive’s second success in the event with Neat Work winning the inaugural running of the event in 2006.

“Neat Work’s win came in my first six months of training,” Olive said.

“That was the inaugural Tony Campbell Cup as well. It was great to win it with Neat Work and it is good to win in with this horse to.”