NZ-bred goes from zero to hero at Warrnambool

  • user
  • May 06, 2024
  • No Comments



3 May 2024

Count Zero continued the New Zealand-bred dominance of the Grand Annual Steeplechase (5500m) in recent times, with the Zed nine-year-old on Thursday becoming the sixth New Zealand-bred winner of the Warrnambool feature in the last seven years.

The Symon Wilde-trained gelding did it in fairytale fashion as well, having been beaten by 37 lengths in the Brierly Steeplechase (3450m) just two days prior.

Following his disappointing last-placed performance in Brierly, jockey Darryl Horner Jnr proposed to ride his charge a lot more forward in the Grand Annual.

“We had a bit to look through after the Brierly, he just didn’t jump well,” Wilde said.

“It was due to him being too far back and Darryl was terrific. He said, ‘Why don’t we put him up the front like usual, I’ll kick him hard out the gates’.

“He jumped beautifully today, with a better look at them. (Horner) thought he just wasn’t interested in the Brierly, being too far back.

“He’s a top-of-the-ground horse and we know he can stay, he’s won a Jericho and he just needed to get that jumping right and that happened today.”

Andrew Bobbin’s Bell Ex One looked to be going slightly better as they jumped the last but Count Zero kicked back strongly and emerged the victor by half a head.

Wilde ended the three-day carnival with four winners and seven placings, as well as Vanguard’s unlucky fourth in the Grand Annual behind his stablemate.

“It’s a thrill – our whole team gets such a buzz, you’ve no idea,” Wilde said.

“I love this race; the theatre of the Brierly, the Galleywood and then this today, it just makes these carnivals.

“Look how many people are here, it’s wonderful.”

It was the second Warrnambool feature for Count Zero, who took out the 2020 edition of the A$304,000 Jericho Cup (4600m).

The son of Zed was purchased out of Grangewilliam Stud’s 2016 New Zealand Bloodstock Festival Yearling Sale draft for $22,000 by Darren Weir and bloodstock agent Johne Foote.

He won his maiden for Weir at his fifth start and transferred to Wilde’s care three starts later and has gone on to win a further nine races for the Warrnambool horseman, and more than A$705,000 in prizemoney.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.