Cummings runs the rule over Zavite
The recent good form of Red Ruler in New Zealand has further fuelled Anthony Cummings’ ambition to target the Auckland Cup with Zavite.
The stayer runs in the Australia Day Cup at Randwick on Tuesday with the plan to tackle the Hobart Cup before the $NZ1 million Auckland Cup on March 10.
Red Ruler has won his past two starts and is now the dominant favourite for the Group Two Wellington Cup next Saturday.
Although Red Ruler is unlikely to line up in the Auckland Cup (3200m), Cummings is using him as the measuring stick for Zavite’s potential opposition.
"Red Ruler seems to be the guide to use," Cummings said.
"Zavite finished in front of him in the Caulfield Cup and and I think he can race well against the New Zealand stayers."
Red Ruler finished last in the Caulfield Cup amid concerns there was something amiss but subsequent veterinary tests found no problems.
Zavite was ninth and, while he didn’t have the spring campaign Cummings would have liked, he has shown enough in two runs this month to please the trainer.
Zavite finished fourth in the Tatt’s Cup (2000m) on New Year’s Day and third in the Frank Underwood Cup over the same distance on January 16 after getting hemmed in and further back than planned.
"He didn’t have a lot of luck last time and got squeezed out," Cummings said.
"We are hoping he will be more forward this time over a distance which is more comfortable for him."
Rainbow Styling, who won the Tatt’s Cup and finished fifth in the Underwood, is the early $3 favourite with TAB Sportsbet with Rabbuka at $4 and Zavite at $4.60.
The Gai Waterhouse-trained Rabbuka took control of the Underwood and ran the field ragged but has yet to win beyond 2000 metres and was unplaced at his only 2400m start in the 2008 McKell Cup.
In contrast, Zavite’s eight wins have been at 2000 metres and beyond including last year’s Australia Day Cup and the Group Two Adelaide Cup (3200m).
After running a close second in the 2008 Hobart Cup (2200m), Zavite won the 2400m Launceston Cup before travelling to South Australia.
The Adelaide Cup remains an option should anything go wrong with the plans to take him across the Tasman.
"It’s there if he doesn’t go to Auckland," Cummings said.
"But the race in New Zealand is worth a lot more and it’s a Group One."
By Caryl Williamson