By Julieanne Horsman
Lady Luck hasn’t been kind to Rock On Zariz this month.
The speedy mare was well fancied in the Harrison & Higgins Autumn Sprint at Wagga last Friday, but the meeting was called off after only two races due to rain and poor visibility.
A fortnight before that, she just missed out on a start in the Wagga Town Plate, having being held up in the Prelude.
On Saturday, she returns to the Murrumbidgee Turf Club in the Thomas Bros Group Cup (1200m) and Paul Jones, who co-trains with his mother Barbara Joseph, is hoping this time luck is on her side.
“I am very happy with her work heading into this race,” he said.
“Barrier 7 is perfect for her so that’s a good start.
“We need genuine speed in the race and I’d like to see her settle midfield or better and get an unimpeded run.
“You don’t want to get too far out of your ground on the Riverside track because it’s too hard to make it up.” Being balloted out of the Wagga Town Plate forced Jones to start Rock On Zariz in an 1100m benchmark 78 fillies and mares race at Rosehill Gardens instead.
Despite being rated an outside chance, Rock On Zariz got going late, flying home to finish 6th of 15.
She was less than three lengths behind Bjorn Baker’s promising filly, Bonny O’Reilly, who has won six of her eight starts.
“That was a very good run, especially considering it was short of her best distance,” Jones said. “Bobby El-Issa (jockey) thought it was a good run too and said when she gets back to 1200m in the country she will win again.”
Brodie Loy has the ride at Wagga on Saturday, having guided Rock On Zariz to a good second behind Man Of Peace at Canberra last month.
“Man Of Peace won the Town Plate Prelude and came a close fourth in the Town Plate so there is good form around him,” Jones said.
“I’d like to see the track dry out a bit though, something in the Soft range rather than Heavy.”
Stablemate Always Flushed was also a victim of Friday’s washout at Wagga and is now set to line up in the Kurrajong 60th Anniversary Class 3 Handicap (1050m).
“She prefers softer ground conditions so the track at Wagga will suit her but she has also accepted at Nowra on Sunday so we will see which barrier she draws and who she is up against and make a decision from there,” Jones said.