Widden Sires Quinella Golden Rose
The $1million Group I ATC Golden Rose Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday provided an early spring showdown for all the serious three year-old colts in the land with victory going to a son of ill-fated Northern Meteor in Zoustar.
Prepared by Chris Waller, the good looking Zoustar won plenty of fans during his first campaign last season when he won three on the trot, before a narrow defeat behind another Northern Meteor youngster in Romantic Touch in the Group I BRC JJ Atkins Stakes.
Sent for a short spell with the Golden Rose in mind, Zoustar returned with a strong finishing fourth in the Group III ATC Run to the Rose last month and connections were all systems go for the big one until earlier this week when their colt drew gate 17.
Starting from the outside in a big field is never what you would choose, but with champion jockey Jim Cassidy to ride there was still cause for optimism.
Eased back at the start, Zoustar travelled kindly and surged into contention rounding the home turn, accelerating impressively in the run home to beat perennial bridesmaid Dissident, a son of Widden Stud’s Golden Slipper winner Sebring.
“When the barrier draw came out I thought ‘bugger’, but you have to look at the positives and we had the right horse for the right race,” said Chris Waller.
“He’s a serious colt and now a very valuable colt. He’s got a big future.”
Winning rider Jim Cassidy was delighted with Zoustar, who he has ridden in every start to date bar one.
“On the way to the barriers I decided to go back and back myself and the horse’s ability, as I knew Chris had him right,” Cassidy said.
Bred by Racetree and sold as a weanling for $85,000, Zoustar was a $140,000 Magic Millions purchase for Iskander Racing from the Kulani Park draft and has won four of six starts earning just shy of $1million in prizemoney.
Zoustar is the first winner for Zou Zou, a winning half-sister by Redoute’s Choice to stakes-placed Crestfallen and to the dam of Group II winner Dusty Star.
Zouzou went back to Northern Meteor in 2011 and produced a full sister to Zoustar last spring.
Zoustar is the second Group I winner for ill-fated Northern Meteor, who died at the end of July with his final crop of foals being born this spring.
Runner-up Dissident was gallant in defeat and has been second at each of his three runs this campaign.
The son of Sebring was a $210,000 Magic Millions purchase from the Widden Stud draft and has won $351,000 in prizemoney.
Northern Meteor and Sebring were the dominant first season sires last season, that rivalry between their progeny obviously set to continue in 2013/2014 as their stock compete as mature three year-olds.