THE wait has been almost a year and Mulgoa’s Kerry and Colin McDowell have been counting down the minutes until their promising filly Zanadu makes her return at Bathurst this Wednesday night.
The exquisitely-bred filly won on debut in February at Newcastle but has been given time away from the track since then to help her mature and gear up for a big three-year-old campaign.
She will go out from gate four in the HRNSW Guaranteed 3YO Fillies Pace (1,730 metres) with the Breeders Challenge and Australian Pacing Gold finals at the top of the wishlist.
The McDowell’s filly is by Woodlands Stud’s leading sire Bettors Delight out of former Group 1 champion Glenferrie Shuffle and was sold at the 2017 APG Melbourne sales for $85,000 – the largest price of all 84 fillies on offer at the sales.
With such an investment by Allied Express Pacing & Trotting, managed by Colin McDowell, it’s understandable that they’ve taken their time to ensure the filly returns to the track at no less than 100 percent fitness.
Her two trial results indicate that’s the case.
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In the first of those runs Zanadu finished second to stablemate Chezmac then she went one spot better in a sharp 1:54.9 mile rate at Menangle.
Trainer Kerry McDowell is interested to see how Zanadu handles the comeback.
“We’ve just been looking after her. We knew she was a nice filly after that first run and she's come back in nice form,” she said.
“We just let her mature and grow a little bit. There was nothing of worry there at all.”
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Zanadu started as a $1.80 for her debut run and looked very comfortable in hands of Colin McDowell, who has the drive for Wednesday’s race.
When McDowell asked Zanadu to take up the lead across the back straight she hardly looked bothered by the move and her driver hardly had to budge to see her cruise home to victory.
“Right from the sale we’ve had a big opinion of her. That’s why we just want to look after her and we felt she’s got a nice career ahead of her,” Kerry McDowell said.
“She trialled very well last week, winning that, and hopefully it will all go to plan on Wednesday.”
Zanadu is the first foal out of Glenferrie Shannon, who won almost $300,000 during a short but successful two and a half year career.
Unraced Well Said filly Kezzamac is the only other foal out of the former Breeders Crown champion.
Other two-year-old season winners in the race include Schnappshot (Bernie Hewitt), Hammertime Harley (Gemma Rue) and Gold Rocks (KerryAnn Turner).
Bathurst-trained hopes Hammertime Harley and Schnappshot are aiming to hit back after missing Boxing Night placings in the Ray And Olive McCarthy Memorial.
Mark Hewitt’s Sportswriter filly Smoken Alice is the only other runner coming into the race off a victory. She was successful at Young just under a fortnight ago.
Bathurst Paceway’s first meeting of the new year, featuring eight races, gets underway from 5.43pm.