Ciaron Maher and David Eustace will be out to add a second Zipping Classic to the trophy cabinet when Duke De Sessa (Ire) lines up at Caulfield.
The multi-state trainers collected the Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) with Southern France (Ire) when the race was run at Sandown, a week after the conclusion of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Sound (Ger) won the Zipping Classic in 2021; picture Racing Photos
The 2021 Zipping Classic, won for a second time by the Mike Moroney-trained Sound (Ger), was moved to Caulfield and run two weeks later than it had been previously, and Saturday’s running will be the third at its new home, and date.
Duke De Sessa (Ire) will be lining up for his sixth Australian start on Saturday.
The five-year-old entire made his Australian debut in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile at Randwick in April and was immediately put away for the spring.
Upon resumption, Duke De Sessa (Ire) contested three Group 1 races — the Memsie Stakes, the Turnbull Stakes and Caulfield Cup — acquitting himself well before a last start third behind Muramasa in the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington.
Southern France (Ire) came to Australia for the 2019 Melbourne Cup and finished 19th, returning 11 days later to win the Zipping Classic under Mark Zahra.
Zahra will ride Duke De Sessa (Ire) on Saturday, the first time the dual Melbourne Cup winning jockey has been aboard the galloper under race conditions.
Maher took Duke De Sessa (Ire) to Caulfield on Tuesday for another look at the track and said the stayer appears spot on for Saturday’s contest.
“His fitness is pretty good,” Maher said. “Mark will ride and will probably roll forward. He hasn’t had a taxing spring. He’s holding his condition relatively well.”
Maher said there was excuses for Duke De Sessa (Ire) last start when behind Muramasa, an opponent again on Saturday.
“We were very happy with his last run,” Maher said. “He got held up a couple of times at crucial stages. Whether that made a difference or not, but with a better run on Saturday, I would say he’ll be thereabouts.”