Zouaves pounces from the right spot

Zouaves pounces from the right spot

March 04, 2019 / 17 days ago

Zouaves pounces from the right spot cover image
Zouaves (nearest camera) collared Cascapedia on the line. (JC Photos)

When trainer Geoff Woodruff bought Zouaves at the 2014 CTS Emperors Select Yearling Sale he felt that R225,000 was a bargain, and he was soon proven right. The son of Sail From Seattle and Zanya (Jallad) won his purchase price back within seven starts and on Saturday posted his seventh success from 21 outings with a well-deserved win in the Gr2 Hawaii Stakes over 1400m. 

Jockey Marco van Rensburg allowed Zouaves to drop in at the back, off a steady pace. They’d drawn at 13 and had pretty much no option but to watch the action from behind runners while Captain Aldo and Arabian Beat disputed matters up front. 

Turning for home, Zouaves only had three behind him as Randall Simons pulled the trigger early on the favourite Soqrat, who swept into the lead just inside the 400m with stablemate Cascapedia in hot pursuit. 

Zouaves got into gear, made up his deficit and ran on strongest to claim the honours right near the winning post. 

Woodruff said: “He had to race from a bad draw but Marco read it right before the race. He expected a hot pace and they went like the clappers. Zouaves sat last, or second last most of the time. He has a good turn of foot. He ran at the tiring field and won a good race.” 

With level, or near level-weights places to the likes of Tilbury Fort, Will Pays and Takingthepeace, and a beating of the quality older horse Captain Aldo, Zouaves had pretty clear, proven high class form coming into the race and Woodruff commented: “I had Zouaves lined up to win the Charity Mile last year. I was quite astonished when he was left out of the final field. I don’t want to go there again and criticise anybody, but perhaps they didn’t understand the strength of his form.” 

With weight-for-age contests now becoming the best options, Zouaves will be aimed at the Gr1 Horse Chestnut Stakes next, and off his new 109 rating, the Drill Hall Stakes at Greyville will probably come after that.

Woodruff described Zouaves as a horse with a “good vibe” around him and told: “He was going to race in my wife Carol’s silks, but we later sold half to Ashley Devachander. We are good friends with him and his family and there’s always been positive sentiments in our partnership with Zouaves.” 

He added: “Well done to Nicky Bartlett, who bred Zouaves. His deceased sire Sail From Seatlle is a loss to our industry.”