In all areas of Australia, there are good jockeys, and there are not so good jockeys. To separate these, Gallopers have a list of jockeys on whom we will entrust our investments, jockeys who rarely if ever make mistakes, jockeys who regularly win races even though they are not on the best horse in the race. Jockeys like Hugh Bowman, Craig Williams, Damien Oliver, Dwayne Dunn, William Pike in WA and Ryan Maloney in Queensland.
And Mark Zahra.
Mark took a break from race riding recently through the winter as he generally does to recharge his batteries for the upcoming spring riches. Mark is a heavy weight, does not ride under 56kg, and still has to consistently waste on race days, punters can see his cheeks sticking out prodigiously when interviewed as testament. Now Mark is a money rider and was entrusted as such when the money was on by both Robert Smerdon and Darren Weir. We are definitely not saying Mark was involved in any of the scull duggery for which both Smerdon and Weir were disqualified, however we are saying that when those trainers needed to ensure they got the right ride, Zahra went on. And the job was done.
Mark had four rides at Cranbourne today, alas, one was scratched on race day morning leaving him with only three. Mark rode a treble. And all three should be shown at Apprentice School next week. In Race 2 he rode The Big Easy for the Maher/Eustace camp, drew barrier 2, "used the barrier" to perfection, box seated, got clear in the straight and was a little too good for his rivals. In Race 5 Kenny Keys and daughter Kasey threw him on Clean Acheeva, a winner of only 5 from 38 before yesterday. With a superb front running ride, Zahra led all the way on the 6yo black mare, under hard riding over the concluding stages held on to win narrowly. The third winner was a gem on Imperial Lad. Drawing wide, barrier 9 of 10 runners, Mark eased the horse out of the barrier, crossing over mid field and somehow managed to get the gelding one off the fence, in behind a wall of horses with beautiful cover in the run. At the 600m, Imperial Lad was eased out 3 wide to stat a run, four wide on the turn but making ground and coming into the race nicely, then let loose at the top of the straight to go on to win well. The rides definitely got all three home first.
Watch out for Mark Zahra during the spring carnival. With the likelihood of no interstate jockeys attending Melbourne meetings due to COVID-19, Zahra will the pick up of plenty of good rides, and he will win several Group 1 races.
Mark Zahra is the right jockey, he will get the job done for punters.
Haven't the racing media been in a frenzy this week! A new training partnership has it's first runner at Moonee Valley on Saturday, the first day of the new racing season.
Anthony and Sam Freedman train their very first runner in partnership.
Hang on, Anthony has been training in his own right for many years now. And by his side has been son Sam, doing race day media interviews with aplomb, turning up at track work at the crack of dawn, overseeing all the stables charges, dealing with clients and racing administrators.
So why all the hype? What has changed?
The only change is the name of the trainer. Instead of Anthony Freedman, it is now Anthony and Sam Freedman. I love the Freedmans, trainers extraordinaire, excellent winning strike rates over many seasons, turn their horses out in exemplary fashion, one stable whose horses I want to be on without question.
Nothing changes here, nothing changes there. So why are the racing media in turmoil?
Maybe all the media hype was simply another boring ploy to increase betting turnover. Ho hum guys, surely you can do better than that.