A racehorse that’s a bit quirky can be frustrating, but trainer Robert Davies thinks he finally has Zadok The Priest figured out.
The five-year-old gelding will line up in the Harrington Cup Benchmark 65 handicap (1300m) at Taree-Wingham Race Club on Thursday and Davies is ready to see him back in the winner’s circle.
“I will be disappointed if he doesn’t do anything as his work is super,” he said. His trackwork rider agrees and told Davies to “hurry up and put him in a race before someone gets hurt. He is jumping out of his skin.”
Zadok The Priest had 16 starts before finally breaking his maiden at Muswellbrook over 1280m on 22 May 2016. He followed that victory up with another three successive wins.
“I think the key to keeping Zadok happy is restriction; restricting the distance to under 1600m and restricting his training,” Davies said. “He doesn’t like too much hard work, much like his trainer!”
The last two runs of his last preparation were disappointing but Davies said he had excuses.
“He was getting tired, doesn’t like a heavy 10 track and when 6th at Warwick Farm he was not ridden to instructions,” he said.
“He is not a leader and tends to over race when he doesn’t have cover and that’s exactly what happened.”
The trainer was happy with his most recent start though, where he made up ground late to finish 6th in benchmark 60 race over 1100m on a heavy track at Scone.
“That was a good race in less than perfect conditions,” he said.
In form apprentice Blaike McDougall has been booked for the ride on Thursday and Zadok The Priest has drawn ideally in barrier one. The major query is the track itself.
“Zadok is a big horse and struggles to accelerate while turning so the Taree track itself isn’t ideal, however the conditions are,” Davies said.
“He has had one 300m breeze up at Cessnock since his last start but that’s all. I want to start him fresh.”
Davies has a long association with Zadok The Priest’s owners, the Davison family. They raced his dam, Kaysean D’Sunshine, as a team almost two decades ago as well as several other horses.
“They’re dream owners to have and I’d love to be celebrating with them come Thursday,” Davies said.