Ron Weston and John Nisbet will have Mad As Zariz contesting Friday’s Canberra Mile and the Canberra trainers are under no illusions, with the pair knowing it will take a big run from their seven-year-old to take out the $150,000 feature event.
“There are quite a few nice mile horses in that race,” Weston said.
“I wouldn’t like to pick one and there are five or six chances and we will have a job ahead of us in what looks to be an exciting race.”
Kayla Nisbet guided the Zariz gelding to a nice win in the 1400m Rod Parsons OAM Handicap at Wagga earlier this month, and Weston said their star galloper was travelling as well as ever.
“Look, the horse is in terrific form and obviously it is a step up in class and he steps up to the mile but the horse couldn’t be in better condition,” Weston said.
“He has been racing well. The 1600m is a query but I guess we will find out tomorrow.”
Mad As Zariz has raced 33 times for six wins and 14 minor placings, earning connections over $130,000 in prizemoney, and Weston explained his galloper could have won more if it wasn’t for ongoing leg issues.
“He’s been a problem horse,” Weston said.
“He has had all sorts of problems with his legs but our farrier has done a good job to have him feeling great.”
The Canberra galloper does boast a nice finishing burst and Weston explained that Nisbet would give Mad As Zariz a solid run in behind the pace before offering him one crack at the leaders on the Canberra home straight.
“He is a funny horse,” Weston said.
“He will get into his pattern of racing and Kayla will get him to his cruising speed.
“We won’t ride him quietly and he won’t be too far back and they will know he is in the race, that’s for sure.”
The Canberra Mile meeting kicks off an excitement period for the club, which will reach fever pitch next month with the running of the always popular Black Opal Stakes and Canberra Cup meetings on March 13 and 14.
“The club have done a good job in building some excitement,” Weston said.
“It’s good racing too. Yes, you need to support country trainers but people want to come and see the best of the best and this is a really nice race tomorrow for anyone with a good horse going forward.”
The Canberra Mile headlines a bumper nine-race-program at Thoroughbred Park, while the $40,000 Black Opal and National Sprint previews have some very nice horses going around that will be racing for bigger money next month.