Credible thrid for Zahite
A CLASS six race in Brisbane could be on the cards for Zahite after the Stokers Siding-based gelding pulled up well following a very credible third place in yesterday’s $50,000 Iris Neilsen Invitational handicap.
The lady-riders-only race has continued to grow in importance and prizemoney at Ballina Racecourse in recent years and is fast becoming one of the Northern Rivers Racing Association’s premier showcase events.
In this year’s race Sigurdardottir ($9.00) and Lucky Elmo ($4.00) were able to dictate the pace of the race and, when they went for home at the 600 metre mark, were able to dash clear with all but the nearby Zahite ($13.00) being caught flat-footed.
Sigurdardottir scored by a length to Lucky Elmo, and a further three-quarters of a length to Zahite.
“Everyone’s been congratulatory, and he deserves it because he beat some good horses home,” said Zahite’s owner-trainer Sonya Wheelahan.
“His run was a really good one, and it was no fluke, so I’m just elated. I may start him up in Brisbane in a few weeks time in a class six race, but we’ll just wait and see for now.
“He’s certainly pulled up well, and he’s eating up.”
The winner was ridden by apprentice Alex Stokes while Zahite was piloted by senior Queensland rider Cecily Eaton.
The top weight and favourite Lucky Luna ($2.50) finished well out of it.
Relegated to odds of up to $31.00 in pre-post betting markets, Zahite had firmed considerably by the time the judge had come to let them go.
“I’m superstitious so I don’t bet on my horses,” Wheelahan said.
“But everyone knew he was going well.”