Exciting three-year-old sprinter Mazu has won his first Group One, taking out the Doomben 10,000 in a thrilling finish.
The midweek track switch from Doomben to Eagle Farm was a mixed bag for trainers, with many predicting a drier Eagle Farm surface may not suit Mazu, but rain on the day caused the track to be downgraded to a Heavy 8.
Mazu, who has relished wet tracks in the Sydney Autumn when winning two Listed events and the Group 2 Arrowfield Sprint (1200m), settled off the speed and took a bit of riding to hit the front but managed to hold off fellow three-year-old Paulele and Kiwi mare Entriviere.
Mazu (red colours) holds Paulele at bay to land the Doomben 10,000, picture Michael McInally Photography/Racing Queensland
It’s been a big week for connections of Mazu, with the announcement that he’s been selected by The Star and Arrowfield for the next two editions of The Everest, and co-trainer Paul Snowden was already looking forward to the Spring post-race.
“He does hit that flat spot but that ability to absorb the pressure and still be strong at the end — that is why we have got a slot in the Everest and that is why we are going to be there. He’s had a very good preparation let me tell you. A lot of work has gone into him. It’s really good,” Snowden said.
Winning jockey Sam Clipperton notched up his third Group One win and broke a run of fourteen second placings at the highest level since his win in the 2016 All Aged Stakes with the win aboard Mazu, and he was full of praise post-race.
“He’s just a star, this horse. He knows how to win and we’ve got a great rapport with each other. Even when I was concerned, he was always going to pick up and I just had to have faith in the horse and in the end I got to the front too early and he thinks his job is done,” Clipperton said.
Mazu (by Maurice (Jpn)) was returned the $3.30 favourite, runner-up Paulele (by Dawn Approach (Ire)) at $11.00, and minor placegetter Entriviere (NZ) (by Tavistock) at $7.00.
Winning time was 1m12.07s (last 600m in 36.51s). Margins were Short Head x 1½-Len.
With an Everest deal locked away, Mazu is now likely to spell before the Spring, and Saturday’s win has seen his price come in for the $15 million sprint, now second favourite at $7 with the TAB behind last year’s winner Nature Strip at $4.
What the beaten jockeys said:
Nash Rawiller (Kementari): “Just struggled for footing the whole race. He’s the type of horse that likes it wetter but also getting footing.”
William Pike (Vega One): “Pretty rough and tough out there. It was a bit tight.”
Brock Ryan (Count De Rupee): “Got bullied throughout the run. Caught wide the trip and just couldn’t finish off on that going.”
James Orman (Rothfire): “Good run. He’s only going to improve with that fitness under his belt and on top of the ground.”
Ben Thompson (Signore Fox): “He was super. Probably the best closer of the race without seeing the replay and was by far the best backmarker. Ticking over well for another tilt at the Kingsford-Smith and Stradbroke.”
Leith Innes (Baller): “It was not a bad effort. He was held up a little bit and he’s handled himself well.”
James McDonald (Paulele): “Good run.”
Jamie Kah (Generation): “Just had to use too much to cross.”
Robbie Fradd (Alpine Edge):
Opie Bosson (Entriviere): “Huge run. Probably took about 500 metres to get up on the bridle but hit the line strong.”
Tommy Berry (Minhaaj): “Just didn’t handle the track.”