Zelenski adds to Cups haul at Timaru

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  • June 19, 2023
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Zelenski added another Cup to his owner’s mantle when he took out the Dunstan Horsefeeds Waimate Cup (1600m) at Phar Lap Raceway on Sunday.

Trainers Ken Rae and Kystal Williams weren’t sure how the six-year-old would handle the step up to the mile from his 1200m hit-out on Riccarton’s synthetic track last month, but he proved they had nothing to worry about.

Under apprentice jockey Kelsey Hannan, Zelenski took up an early front-running role where he kept an honest pace before holding off the late challenge of Athene to win by a nose.

“I told Kelsey that if he got in front that it was okay to let him be happy and let him relax. He is always a handy horse and she rode him beautifully,” Williams said.

“I was pretty happy to see him get the mile. He had a big gap after that first race he had up north, so it was good to see him get the mile.

“I didn’t doubt him with the way he was looking, behaving and working.

“There is a lot of history that goes with the Cup, so it was great to win it.”

Williams cited the reason for his six-week break between his first two runs was due to the gelding’s long-running issue with travel sickness, but that proved no issue on his two-hour float trip to Timaru on Sunday.

“He gets a bit of travel sickness. When he crosses on the ferry he can get a bit of a belly ache and he tries to lie down in the float,” Williams said.

“Even with small trips he can be a bit funny, but we have learnt how to handle it and we seem to get him places now.

“It wasn’t an issue today.”

Zelenski’s Cups tally now stands at three, having previously won the Waipu Cup and Whangarei Gold Cup, and Williams has her eyes on a bigger Cup in August with the gelding if Canterbury gets a mild winter.

“We may look at the Winter Cup (Gr.3, 1600m), but it all depends on what the track will be like for him at that stage,” Williams said.

“If we get a nice winter, it will be okay, but if we get a bad winter, we have got no show.”

Meanwhile, Williams said she was pleasantly surprised to see stablemate Whiskey Lies win his maiden at Ruakaka on Saturday.

“We were all surprised and it was nice to see our owner Mel Barratt get a winner. He has been a part of the stable for a long time and he gets very excited when his horses go well,” she said.

Stablemate Dancing Dream finished third in the same race and Williams doesn’t believe it will be long before the juvenile filly graces the winner’s stall.

“That was the horse we had all been picking,” Williams said. “She doesn’t go too bad and it won’t be long until we see her get a win.”

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