By Tony Megahey
In tremendous TAB Highway form, Gayna Williams again has rivals outnumbered with another stable threesome and bigger occasions likely following successive series winners into a Rosehill Gardens episode on Saturday.
The three-decade central districts trainer never overrates them up but her presence again with three runners into a booming $100,000 country race is reflected in betting markets.
Highly promising mare Zoo Station ($4 into $3.90 favourite on TAB) is the popular elect, three-year-old Tags prominent at $7.50, then wider to her former Team Snowden gelding Bondi Blue ($19) into a capacity TAB Class 3, 1500m Highway Plate with emergencies.
The stable lead is Zoo Station, an Animal Kingdom prospect, trained within an elephant’s trunk of the Western Plains Zoo.
The striking chestnut was the victim of bad luck and an outside barrier in the recent headquarters Highway won by Gayna’s stablemate From the Bush.
Set for the Newhaven Park Country Championships after a dynamic 'Gardens' win last month, Zoo Station, is ideally placed from an inside draw with 57kg, a 3kg rise for winning rider Regan Bayliss.
Then Tags, second to Gayna’s From the Bush, has 59kg for Kerrin McEvoy and then to former Team Snowden’s Bondi Blue on 56kg for Jay Ford.
Markets will likely shift to Zoo Station by the Dubai World Cup and Kentucky Derby-winning sire as she is bred to get further after an explosive win from rearward over a 1400m at the track. It indicated far better races for Zoo Station.
Forget her sixth behind From the Bush at Royal Randwick. From a conspicuous last, dragged back from a wide draw, she closed strongly indicating the 1500m is ideal again on rain-affected.
With three wins from six starts and exciting upside, Zoo Station is progressing sweetly for the Country Championships, and is a likely a Kosciuszko contender.
That’s Gayna’s hopes as she has balanced her programming and is accommodating many different owners admirably amidst Covid restrictions.
“It’s scary; the health issues are reaching us out here, but we’ve got to deal with it and gratefully we’re racing,” Gayna offered.
“We’re coming again with race fit, in-form runners. Zoo Station has that weight rise but she’s drawn to hold a position instead of having to work hard to find one.
“No luck at all last start but previously she was so impressive, won like a mare with so much upside. This race maps well for her, she’s drawn well and bred for the extra distance.
“Tags is drawn out again but is racing so well despite giving away age and experience. Hopefully, we’ll find cover as he’s still green. He wasn’t suited pressuring him to race closer from a wide draw.
“Bondi Blue is still ticking over after a long spell and issues. It’s taken a while to get him right again after back problems with the two runs from a long spell.
“It’s not ideal to have three in the same race but owners are entitled the opportunity for that level of prizemoney while they’re eligible. If we stay at the regionals, we’d get more weight for a lot less prizemoney.”
Zoo Station is favourite just ahead of Keith Dryden’s Kembla winner Dream Runner ($4) with proven Highway form. Presently, Rosehill is a Soft 6 in fine weather.