Stakes races are calling for Zabeel gelding Choysa after his daring last-start win at Flemington.
The Monovale Farm-bred and owned seven-year-old was set alight early in Saturday’s Trevor Clarke Handicap (2500m) by jockey Kate Walters, who amassed a lead of more than 20 lengths at some stages of the race.
Trained by her father Wayne Walters, Kate’s riding tactics paid dividends when the pair were able to outstay their rivals in the straight, winning by nearly three lengths.
“It was a great result for the farm and great to get a win at Flemington,” Monovale Farm’s Joe Smithies said.
“They were all or nothing tactics and as he turned for home I was fairly confident. He started to lift again about 100m from home and the others were out on their feet, so the daring ride worked brilliantly.”
Choysa is in fine form at the moment, with Saturday’s win being the gelding’s fourth from his last seven starts.
“He has had a huge prep this season and he’s probably got another two or three years in him if we nurse him along,” Smithies said.
“He’s by Zabeel out of a Redoute’s Choice mare so he is in his prime at the moment and his race record has been huge.”
The Smithies have taken a patient approach with Choysa, who began his career in New Zealand five years ago where he picked up one win from eight starts.
“He’s a horse we always knew was going to be handy in time, he just took a while to develop,” Smithies said. “He’s a typical staying type and we have just given him time.”
Smithies said it was great to get the win with trainer and long-time family friend Wayne Walters, who trains several horses for Monovale Farm.
“We spread horses out among trainers in New Zealand and Australia, but Wayne is a good family friend of ours and he does train a few for us.”
Choysa’s Flemington victory has fueled the fire for the Smithies family who are eyeing possible black-type with their gelding.
“We’ll just see how he pulls up over the next few days,” Smithies said. “We know he is capable of city class now. We have probably known that for a while but have opted to build him up slowly, we have been really patient with him.
“Going forward we could target something Listed or even Group level at some stage with him, but it’s just a case of when.”
Choysa has won eleven races to date and has amassed A$234,000 in prizemoney.