Butcher confident with Zarias in Gold Cup

Don’t let Zarias’s standing start record fool you in today’s Cambridge Gold Cup.

Because while the promising pacer has just one placing in two attempts from behind the tapes trainer-driver Zachary Butcher says today’s $20,000 standing start over 2700m will suit his five-year-old.

Zarias was a good last-start winner after a smart Monika Ranger drive when able to blast the gate from a mobile start, trail and use the passing lane but he goes up in grade today and back behind the tapes.

He also faces a 20m handicap with half the field sharing that mark with him but Butcher says none of that fazes him.

“I am confident he will step fast and get in front a few of the others,” says Butcher.

“And while he won’t be leading or trail like last time I think they go hard and that will suit him.

“He is still at the improving stage of his campaign too and I think you will see a better horse than last start.”

Zarias meets some others who like him are heading most of the way to open class, including Chimichurri while local trainer Arna Donnelly has three in the Cup with Bad Medicine (10m), New York Minute and Rough And Ready (both 30m).

One of the bolters in the race could be Themighty Miki (2) who has been blowing his standing starts but is one of only two horses on the front line with only one horse immediately behind him on the 10m mark so might get his best chance yet to step away.

His trainers Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan have the horse to beat in today’s $20,000 Trotters Cup in which Escape The Pace faces a 35m handicap but has been in great form.

She has won three of her six Cambridge starts and if she behaves herself should make it four as the field lacks many 3:30-capable horse over the 2700m whereas her best work would see her trot that.

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