Sizzling Zoustyle excites trainer
EXCITING youngster Zoustyle will be sent for a spell after another sizzling win at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday as trainer Tony Gollan plots a long-term plan to aim at next year's Sydney autumn carnival.
Zoustyle did it easily in front under Brad Stewart, who labelled the gelding "as potentially as good as I've ridden" after sending him home a three-and-a-quarter-lengths winner.
As an indicator of his talent, Zoustyle's time of 58.81sec for the 1000m was only marginally inferior time to Open company horses Ringo's A Rockstar and Tarzan (58.56).
Stewart, who has ridden the son of Zoustar in his 12-length trial win and two race-day wins, is not the type to get carried away, but was matter of fact when asked to assess the horse on Saturday.
"It's scary how good I think he is," he said.
"I know it's a big statement, but I don't think I've seen a two-year-old that I would be afraid of taking on with this guy.
"He's only won a couple of average races, but against his own age I wouldn't by shying away from any of them."
Stewart predicted Zoustyle would comfortably run further than the 1000m and 1110m he had already been tested at.
"He's not a squib by any means. He's pretty easy to ride, he does what I want," he said.
Gollan spoke with Zoustyle's owners after Saturday's race, and they agreed to send him for a spell and forget any ambitions of racing in Melbourne during the spring.
"The spring is going to come up just a bit quick for us," Gollan said.
"We've been patient this long, so we're not going to rush him now.
"We can give him a good break now and then bring him back for the Queensland summer carnival. Long term, our eyes are firmly on Sydney next autumn.
"When we travel him, he will be a proper horse."
Gollan seems set to have a wealth of young talent at his disposal in the new season, with established topliners Ef Troop and Outback Barbie being readied for spring assignments.
Bloodstock agent John Foote, the man who found Makybe Diva's mum Tugela for Tony Santic, paid 52,000 guineas for Zoustyle's dam Fashion at the December sales in the UK.
Foote bought her for owners Des Whybird and Russell Board.
This is her second foal. She has a Choisir yearling filly aimed at Magic Millions in January, is in foal to Sebring and booked to Merchant Navy this spring.
"He looks like he needs a bit of competition. He gets to the front and does it too easily at the moment," Foote said.
Meanwhile, jockey Jim Byrne deflected attention from his birthday and instead focused on his father after winning the Group 3 Queen's Cup (3200m) on Plot Twist at Caloundra.
The race doubled as the Queensland Cup, a race Byrne has now won four times after earlier successes on Insecure (1998), Iggy Pop (2014) and Murphy's Delight (2016).
Byrne turned 47 on Saturday, but was in a more reflective mood than celebratory.
"This means a bit more than just my birthday," he said.
"My dad's pretty sick and faces an uphill battle unfortunately.
"Winning this race is something for him to let him know I'm thinking of him.
"I told him I'd win this race for him today and I'm pleased I was able to do it."
Sydneysider Plot Twist is trained by Peter and Paul Snowden, for whom Byrne won last year's Doomben 10,000 on Redzel.
Plot Twist led for the first half of the race before Megablast took over down the back, but Byrne kept him in his sights and had his measure soon after turning.
Plot Twist races in the colours made famous by Pierro for Greg and Donna Kolivos.
"He's not quite as sharp as Pierro was, but a winner is a winner is a winner," Kolivos said.
"This is our very first winner in Queensland. We've had a lot of horses come up here, but never grace the winner's list until now."
Peter Snowden was on course to supervise the final touches of the preparation for Plot Twist, who has now won each of his three 3200m starts.
"We will give him a break now and then bring him back and look at a race like the Adelaide Cup," Snowden said.
"He doesn't have a turn of foot, but he's very game and he can definitely stay."
Bluebrook continued his winning ways in yesterday's 1600m Class 6 Plate as owner Darren Wilson looked excitedly ahead to next season with some of the youngsters he purchased this year.
Bluebrook started his career in Victoria before switching at the start of the year to Queensland, where he has now won three of his six starts for Kelly Schweida.
Wilson's association with the Schweida stable came about through his wife Janelle, whose daughter Heidi Whalley has been a long-term employee of the stable.
After Heidi's partner Tim Bell died in Singapore in 2015, the couple bought Oink and raced him in partnership among others with Bell's parents Grant and Keiley.
"The Bells are like family now and we are very loyal to Kelly's stable through that association," Wilson said.
"I spent more than $1 million on yearlings this year and five of them are with Kelly. I live in Brisbane and I love being able to go to the races to watch them."