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Unlucky not win during her first campaign, stakes placed Za Za Gabor (4 m O’Reilly – Zaza Top, by Lomitas) left nothing to chance with a three length resuming win in the $10,000 Maiden 1400 metres on 9 January at Matamata.

Although still a Maiden, Za Za Gabor was well performed in strong fields before ending her previous NZ campaign with a great run for second in the Warstep Stakes (Listed, 2000m).

Owned and bred by Kevin Hickman ONZM, principal of Valachi Downs, Za Za Gabor had looked good in her action when getting home for second in a December trial and co-trainer Pam Gerard had been very happy with her work since.

“Her work had been super and I thought if she could find a nice position, which she did, then we expected her to go very well,” she said.

Despite not being rushed from barrier six, rider Jake Bayliss soon found a beautiful position fourth on the inner. She improved to trail nearing the home turn, quickened to a winning advantage after working clear at the 300m and proved a class above her rivals at the line.

“I had to go when I did, otherwise we could have been caught in a pocket,” Bayliss said, after winning the race sponsored by Maara Grange Rehabilitation Facilty.

“She sprinted, got away and floated a bit while waiting for something to egg her on but she did it comfortably in the end. She gave me a nice feel and she’ll go through the grades. She’s still immature and bit on the hot side, but once she learns she’ll be a nice staying filly.

“Her work had been very good and I was expecting her to win today.”

On footing upgraded to Good3, Za Za Gabor ran the 1400 metres in 1:23.9, last 600m in 34.5, and shortened from an earlier TAB fixed odds quote of $7.00 & $2.45 to pay $3.90 & $1.90 on the tote.

Valachi Downs stud manager Jonathan Scully said: “We’ve been very patient with her. After the Warstep, she went to Melbourne, got hurt and came home again. The whole team has done a great job getting her ready to win at the right time and Pam was pretty confident that she was going well.

“It was good to see her win so convincingly first up and Mike and Pam might have a few more lofty goals for her. She’s always looked a stakes quality mare and now she’s underway.”

Her dam, Zaza Top, was the Second Top filly on the German 2YO Handicaps and doing a really good job at stud, having already left Champion 3YO in Germany Zazou (Shamardal), and Zoe Dream (Galileo), winner of seven from 2300m to 4050m in France. Valachi also sold her half-brother Doroza (Medaglia d’Oro) for $120,000 at Karaka. Bought by Matt Cumani and Phill Cataldo, Cumani has trained him to win in Australia.

“Kevin and Jo are fantastic owners, and with Jonathan the way that they’re growing in the industry is an amazing contribution. We value people like them to keep it all going,” Gerard said.

“It was good to finally get a win with Za Za Gabor. She’s been a class act all the way through, but always been a touch immature. She’s done a lot of travelling, probably unlucky not to win the Warstep, and although the trip to Melbourne didn’t go to plan it has been the makings of her in the long run.

“She’s been much stronger and more settled this time in. She was quite light framed, but now developing into a lovely mare and she’s holding her condition very well.

“She probably wouldn’t mind a bit more cut in the ground than she got today, but a class above them, and she should be well suited heading into the autumn.”

Za Za Gabor was strapped by Hayley Ashcroft.

[09 Jan 19]


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