Minervini Racing has scored a sizzling race-to-race double in the first two events at Monday’s Morphettville meeting. 

Kicking off the day in fine style was the well-bred maiden galloper Zolotoi (3g Starcraft – Ain’t Seen Nothin’) who produced a wonderful final last 400m, to come from well back in the field and mow down his rivals. 

Given all the time and patience required that’s seen him furnish in a wonderful specimen of an animal, Zolotoi kicked off his career in late November of last year, doing much the same as he did in today’s win – settling well back and hitting the line full of running. 

Sent out for a spell exactly one month after his debut, the gelding resumed a month ago and whilst he couldn’t get warm in the early part of the 1200m journey, his final 100m showed that he would welcome any rise in distance that was to come his way. 

Drawing barrier 18 (14 after scratchings) for today’s event, there was never any doubt that Zolotoi was going to be given all the time required to find his feet by stable rider Shayne Cahill and the gelding slipped back through the field and settled last, with the whole field in front of him. 

Tracking up easily under his own steam at the 600m, Cahill found the back of the well-fancied Firstee, who was first to go and weaved between runners, hooking to the outside and setting sail for home, putting three lengths on the chestnut. 

Not to be one to panic, Cahill held his nerve for a few strides longer, hooked to the outside and set sail out after his rival when they had both straightened. Whilst it took the impressive gelding 100 or so metres to settle into his work and hit top gear, once he found it, he rocketed home down the middle of the track and grabbed Firstee right on the line for an impressive win. 

Zolotoi was a $100,000 purchase by Mark from the 2014 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale. His pedigree page is littered with Stakes winners, and he is the seventh foal (all winners) of the Barbara Joseph-trained, stakes-winning mare Ain’t Seen Nothin’. 

An incredibly versatile racehorse, the Nothin’ Leica Dane mare won stakes races at 1400m and was 2.2 lengths from Mummify when running fifth in the 2003 Caulfield Cup. Her time as a broodmare has been just as impressive, with Zolotoi’s siblings including Ain’tnofallenstar, Singapore Champion Stepitup, and the Gerald Ryan stakes-winner Bachman. 

Just over 45 minutes later, and it was the improving mare Freedom Road (4m Good Journey – Voltara) that justified her short quote by winning the 1550m BM64 event in fine style. 

Having ticked off her maiden win in her initial preparation in the new year, the mare was sent for a break and resumed in early April with a good effort at the end of an unsuitable trip, making good ground at the end of 1200m for a fast-finishing fourth placing. 

Quickly out to 1500m last start at Gawler and Freedom Road again showed that a win wasn’t far away, coming from well back to the turn to hit the line full of running.
Staying at the same distance range for today’s event turned out to be a winning move, and whilst the manner in which Freedom Road completed the task was a little different to her previous runs, the end result is what was desired. 

Sensing a lack of early speed, apprentice Ryan Hurdle, competing against his fellow apprentice riders, let Freedom Road slide forward after a few hundred metres, where the mare was comfortable and found some cover. 

To the turn and with Freedom Road travelling well within herself she quickly made ground and joined the leaders. A late challenge out wide was not enough to deny the mare, and she held on for what was, in the end, a win that was more impressive than the final margin. 

Freedom Road, like her winning stable-mate Zolotoi also comes from a successful family, being out of the More Than Ready mare Voltara, who apart from Freedom Road, has left two stakes-placed horses in Comearoundsundown, and the impressive Ellerton/Zahra youngster Creativity. 

Congratulations to the big list of owners that enjoyed success at today’s meeting including Zolotoi’s owners Peter & Sue Blaschek, Ian & Cheryl Dally, Dr PC Goel, Jeff & Tracey Halsall, Josh Halsall, Steve & Cathy Horn, Peter & Suzanne Horsnell, Katherine & David Hossen, Ros Inglis, Kirsty Marnane, Seen It All Syndicate, Liz & Pat Noone, Everyone Reckons Syndicate, Paul Ramsay, John & Margaret Ray, and the Kegasus Lives Syndicate, and Freedom Road’s owners Frank Agostino, Tom Boorman, Beth Gibb, Ros Inglis, Colin Kuchel, Davide & Bianca La Scala, Jay Morris, Liz & Pat Noone, Crikey Syndicate, Mark Potter, John & Margaret Ray, Frank Salzano, Raymond Spencer, Summerset Park Stud Syndicate, Erica Taylor, Dirk van Dissel, and Alan Young. 

A replay of Zoltoi’s win can be found at – http://www.theracessa.com.au/show_video.php?track=30072&date=2016-05-16&race=1&trial=no

A replay of Freedom Road’s win can be found at – http://www.theracessa.com.au/show_video.php?track=30072&date=2016-05-16&race=2&trial=no

Daniel Borg