Hezashocka will give away experience to his Queensland Derby rivals but the lightly-raced former Kiwi could become the prototype for Melbourne Cup assaults in the coming years.
Europe has been a fertile buying ground for Australians wanting Melbourne Cup runners in the past 12 years.
Local owners have won seven Melbourne Cups with overseas purchases in that time.
The influx of Europeans has increased the difficulty of the task ahead of Australasian stayers in the Melbourne Cup.
Vow And Declare in 2019 was the only Australian-bred galloper to win the great race in the last decade while Prince Of Penzance was the last New Zealand-bred winner in 2015.
Racing Victoria’s tougher restrictions on international runners in the Melbourne Cup could lead local buyers back to New Zealand to secure stayers to aim at the $8 million event.
Hezashocka could be one such purchase.
The three-year-old had three starts in New Zealand before the Mick Price and Michael Kent Jr stable teamed up with syndicator OTI Racing to buy the three-year-old after his win in the Group 2 Trelawney Stud Stakes (2100m) last month.
Kent Jr said Hezashocka could fit the bill as a Cups horse in the next few years if he continues to develop his natural staying ability.
“The thing with getting horse to those Cup races is that you don’t over-race them at two and three,” Kent Jr said.
“It’s the first prep for him so you’d imagine, if he has a nice spring and autumn, next spring he’ll still be lightly-raced and sound.
“Our vet said he had the cleanest X-rays he’d seen in a couple of years. If we look after him, we know he’s a natural stayer and covers the ground, he is going to be very exciting for us in the spring.
“It’s hard to beat the top Europeans or the Japanese but I think we do have the stock there if we look after the horse.”
Mark Zahra will ride Hezashocka in Saturday’s Group 1 Queensland Derby. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
Hezashocka, a son of 2009 Melbourne Cup winner Shocking, arrived in Queensland more than a fortnight ago to prepare for the $600,000 Queensland Derby.
The Eagle Farm contest will be Hezashocka’s first run for a month but Kent Jr said the gap between runs would not worry the gelding.
“Mick (Price) says he has the cleanest set of lungs and he’ll go all day so he’s going to be a really good stayer for us going forward,” Kent Jr said.
“He’s very athletic and covers a lot of ground with a massive stride. He just does things very easily.
“We’re learning about him but we like him a lot.”
Drawing barrier 14 is not a concern for the stable, who has engaged new father Mark Zahra to ride Hezashocka.
“He’s the least experienced horse in the race and it’s going to me a messy race with the big field so I’m happy he’s drawn out a bit now,” Kent Jr said.
“We’re very confident he can run in the first six.”
TAB has Hezashocka at $23 in its early Queensland Derby market.
Originally published asHezashocka has scope to develop into Cup horse
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