Apr 07, 2016

When the hammer fell on Lot 276 at the 2014 NZ Karaka Sale, Jason Warren could be forgiven for being a little concerned. He had just purchased the most expensive Zabeel filly at the sale for $320k. 

"I certainly couldn't afford her myself but she was a smashing filly so I took the punt that we could sell her" smiled Warren. 

Above: Zasorceress as a yearling

Thankfully some of JWR's best owners jumped on board headed by Brian Toohey (who part owned The Barrister, The Seductress at al) and  Dave Gillies (who has owned many horses with JWR including Hipster Girl). They were joined by former VISY CFO John Wheeler (who part owns Allano and Thunder Teddington), an old friend in Barbara McDonald (owned Double Dee) and a lovely gentleman named Tom Payne

"Six month is a long time in racing. We had her ready for a listed race in Adelaide last spring but she was scratched at the barriers which was hugely disappointing at the time.  Everything happens for a reason. We licked out wounds after Adelaide and got on with the job of preparing her for the AJC Oaks in the Autumn. First was first. We needed to sort out her barrier manners. Like all Zabeels, she was a problem child in the barriers and we engaged the services of Julien Welsh to help sort her out. 

Julien did a fantastic job. She hated being confined in the barriers and would become very impatient once loaded but Julien sorted that out and she is much better now (touch wood). 

Her Autumn campaign started well with a excellent first up run at Sandown against the older horses. However, her next two runs were a little flat and she was probably a shade disappointing on face value. 

It was a big punt taking her to Sydney as she had only won $5k in prizemoney and her form probably didnt warrant a trip north but we knew that she would improve once she got to 2000m and beyond. 

We bypassed the Vinery Stakes and opted for the Group 3 Adrian Knox. Her work had been outstanding in the leadup which gave us some confidence going into the race. 

Zac Purton had been booked to ride her but he was struggling with the weight (54kg). Tommy Berry had just won two Group 1's so Tommy got the late call up.

I instructed him to be positive out of the gates but never did I think he would lead them up. She rolled them along at a good clip and made it a true staying test. When Tommy gave them the slip on the rise, I thought we had it won. That last 200m seemed to go forever and it was only in the last 50m that they got to her. It was a mighty run and we were all terribly proud of her efforts.

To run third in a Group 3 was a massive result. She is now a very valuable broodmare and will be highly sort after by the biggest breeders in the world when she retires".

She is first emergency for Saturday's Group 1 AJC Oaks and it would be a dream to have a runner in such a prestigious race. If she sneaks into the field, look out!