McEvoy chasing major New Zealand prize with youngster

3 min read

Written by Paul Vettise

Group 1 trainer Tony McEvoy will break new ground this weekend when he attempts to lift a first overseas title.

McEvoy, who operates stables at Flemington and at Angaston, is sending the talented 2-year-old Just Zerene (Zoustar) across the Tasman in search of a premier prize.

The China Horse Club-raced youngster will run in the G1 Sistema S. at Ellerslie on Saturday with Sam Spratt booked to take the reins.

Tony McEvoy

“The filly will fly over on Tuesday night. About five weeks ago Michael Wallace put the race in front of me and said it was my decision. I thought it was a really good option.”

“About five weeks ago Michael Wallace put the race in front of me and said it was my decision. I thought it was a really good option.” – Tony McEvoy.

While McEvoy hasn’t had a runner in New Zealand before, he has been associated with another filly that nearly made a successful New Zealand raid more than three decades ago.

“When I was with the Hayes family Glorious Way came over many years ago,” McEvoy said.

Owned by the late Robert Sangster, the David Hayes-trained Glorious Way (Godswalk {USA}) made a hit and run mission to contest the 1987 G1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce S. and very nearly pulled it off, finishing runner-up.

Demanding season

She was beaten by Satisfy (NZ) (Top Quality {NZ}), who was making a remarkable 17th appearance as a 2-year-old in the Awapuni feature for his trainer and part-owner Nick Nicoloff.

Satisfy would go on to make a further six starts in his juvenile season and emphasised his iron-like qualities by returning at three to win the G1 New Zealand Derby.

Just Zerene has been spared such a demanding schedule and has raced on only three occasions and has valid excuses for not yet opening her winning account.

She was slowly out of the barrier on debut when sixth in the G3 BJ McLachlan S. at Doomben before a close second behind Castelvecchio (Dundeel {NZ}). The filly then endured a torrid run when fifth on the Kensington track in early February.

“She just hasn’t had any luck at all,” McEvoy said. “She missed the start in the Group 3 and was burned up early in a maiden at Canterbury and just got beaten by the Millennium winner.

“She just hasn’t had any luck at all.” – Tony McEvoy.

“She was then off the track all the way outside the speed.”

McEvoy said Just Zerene was in tip top order and had worked accordingly on Monday morning.

“She galloped beautifully and she’s ready to go. She’s really well.”

Pedigree notes

Bred by Qatar Bloodstock, Just Zerene was purchased out of Widden Stud’s draft at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale by the China Horse Club for $800,000.

She is a half-sister to the dual Group 3 winner Sharnee Rose (Nadeem) and the stakes performer Zaffaan (Red Ransom {USA}) with their dam Farasha (Jeune {GB}).

Just Zerene pictured as a yearling

She is a sister to the dam of the G1 Kenilworth Cape Derby winner Ertijaal (Hard Spun {USA}) and a half-sister to the dam of the G1 Sir Rupert Clarke S. winner Rewaaya (Singspiel {Ire}).

The Group 1 producing stallions Snippets (Lunchtime {GB})and Not A Single Doubt (Redoute's Choice)also feature on Just Zerene’s pedigree page, as does the G1 Doomben Cup winner Sense Of Occasion (Street Sense {USA}).