Pam Gerard has had a high opinion of Za Za Gabor for some time and the five-year-old mare is starting to live up to those expectations. The daughter of O’Reilly was stakes-placed as a three-year-old before going on to win two races at four.
She has come of age in her five-year-old season, finishing runner-up over a mile at Pukekohe in November before placing behind Prise De Fer and Yearn in the Group 2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day. “I really like this mare, I always have,” said Gerard, who trains in partnership with Mike Moroney. “It has taken a lot of time to get her to where she is. In the past we were getting her to where we wanted her and then she has ended up in Australia. “This is the first year where I think she has really matured and she showed that in the Rich Hill.”
Za Za Gabor will be looking to record her first stakes win at Tauherenikau on Thursday when she contests the Listed Property Brokers Wairarapa Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes WFA F&M (1600m). Za Za Gabor will be Ballymore Stables’ sole representative at the meeting, but Gerard is looking forward to the race and believes her mare will be very competitive from barrier three. “She is a really lovely type of mare who is starting to come into her own and I think she is really well placed down there,” she said. “I am really happy with her draw (3), she should get a nice sit in behind them. “She hasn’t had a race in a little while and even though it was a long trip it just seems to be the right race for her.”
While expecting a bold showing on Thursday, Gerard is particularly looking forward to the autumn targets with the mare. “I think she will be quite a force coming up into some of these mares races later on in the season, particularly with a bit of give in the ground,” Gerard said. “On paper she is bred to go over a lot further, but she has got enough freshness in her at the moment to be competitive at the mile.”
Za Za Gabor has been installed as a $6 equal second favourite with Darscape Princess, behind Sinarahma at $3.80. All going to plan after Thursday Za Za Gabor will be set loftier targets. “She will come back and we will look at the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders (Group 1, 1600m) and maybe the Travis Stakes (Group 2, 2000m), but we will just see how she goes tomorrow (Thursday) first.”
Meanwhile, further north Gerard will have three runners at Tauranga, including debutant Catwalk Girl in the Gartshore Construction 1200. “She was pretty smart at the trials,” Gerard said. “She has got a fair amount of pace about her this filly, even though on paper she is more of a staying type. “She has had a bit of time to get to the races, but she trialled nicely. She has drawn an outside gate (6), but there are only six in it, so I think she will be quite a strong contender.”