Shenzhou Steeds Brilliant in Caloundra CupMonday, Jul 2, 2012
Any doubts over Shenzhou Steeds (NZ) staying the 2400 metres of the A$200,000 Listed Caloundra Cup where expelled at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday when he dominated in the staying feature, winning by seven lengths.
Trainer Michael Moroney commented in the days leading up to the Cup that the heavy weight of 58 kilograms, the heavy track and the fact that the four-year-old had not raced over a distance greater than 2000 metres, may hinder the four-year-old in his bid to remain unbeaten in Queensland.
Shenzhou Steeds (NZ) wins the Caloundra Cup
by seven lengths
But all concern was put aside on Saturday as Shenzhou Steeds (Ishiguru x Sun City) turned in one of his best performances under jockey Eddie Wilkinson. Settling well in transit, the gelding was lucky to avoid trouble caused by Crosscannons who fell when racing in front of him nearing the 600 metre mark.
Racing keenly on the corner, the son of Ishiguru turned the Cup into a one horse race in the straight, claiming the race leaders and powering away to the post to a brilliant seven-length win.
Moroney expressed surprise after the race over his mount's dominant performance and is now weighing up options for the four-year-old with the Listed Grafton Cup (2350m) on the radar.
"The concern if he runs at Grafton is what weight the handicapper will give him after he won today by such a big margin with 58 kilograms on his back," said Moroney.
Shenzhou Steeds is unbeaten in Queensland in five starts. Last season at three he won three consecutive races culminating in the Listed Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m) and he came into Saturday's race hot off winning the Listed Ipswich Cup (2000m) after commencing his current campaign in Melbourne.
Bred by Chequers Stud, Shenzhou Steeds was passed through the ring at New Zealand Bloodstock's 2009 Karaka Select Sale. He is now raced by Mr G Del Mastro, Mr P G Woods, Mr N J Byrne, Mr G Devonport, Mr B N Kinnane, Mr J Versace, Mr D Strano, Till Tuesday & McGrath Racing.
Saturday's Caloundra Cup victory was Shenzhou Steeds' seventh from just 15 starts and has taken his total stakes earnings to $500,000.
The Caloundra Cup is a race kiwi bred horses have a good record in with Shenzhou Steeds the eighth New Zealand bred winner of the race since 2000. Other horses carrying the NZ suffix to victory since 2000 were Henderson Bay, Victory Smile, Raw Instinct, Portland Singa, Empyreal (twice), Fast Future and Reggie.