Cruzing to Queensland?

By Adam Hamilton

THIS Queensland Winter Carnival just got a whole lot more interesting.

And the biggest and most exciting twist could be yet to come.

Cruz Bromac’s upset Group 1 Len Smith win at Menangle yesterday threw his name into the Queensland mix, but did little to answer the question as to who Australia’s best pacer is right now.

That’s largely because top seed and $1.40 Len Smith favourite Soho Tribeca broke at the start and effectively took no part in the race.

It appeared Soho Tribeca, who was dipping his head in the score-up, got his head under the arm of the mobile briefly and caused himself to gallop. He was subsequent found to have pulled-up with a minor issue and stood down for seven days and pending a vet test.

Many argued the mobile gate was going too slow for a major race and potentially contributed to Soho Tribeca’s issue.

Whatever the exact reasons, punters copped it big time and Soho Tribeca took no part.

Miracle Mile winner My Field Marshal began well from the pole, but was no match for the early brilliance of a new-look Cruz Bromac – having just his second run for Kevin Pizzuto – and grabbed the trail on the leader throughout.

My Field Marshal saw plenty of room at the right time in the home straight, but was unable to make any real impact on Cruz Bromac, who zipped home in 26.5sec at the end of a 1min50.1sec mile and won by 4.6m.

“The win certainly didn’t surprise me,” Pizzuto said. “I tipped him on (Sydney) radio and told everyone we’d backed him fixed odds.

“I got really keen on his chances after we worked him around the half mile track at Bankstown early in the week and he flew. I knew he was ready and I told Danny (Zavitsanos) he was spot-on.”

Pizzuto and Zavitsanos run deep and sharing a Group 1 win was special.

“I was gutted when Danny sold Majordan and he came out and went so well for me. I thought he might have a sold a Group 1 winner and still think he might have,” Pizzuto said.

“So it was great when the chance to buy Cruz Bromac came along and Danny took 75 per cent of him with me to train, I thought ‘ok, let’s get this guy to win a Group 1 for us both’.”

It was only a few weeks back at Cambridge when Zavitsanos and his wife, Joanne, won their first Group 1 race with the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained Enhance Your Calm.

Pizzuto said the next 24-48 hours would decide whether Cruz Bromac headed to Queensland for Saturday week’s Group 2 Sunshine Sprint and/or the Group 1 Blacks A Fake a week later.

“He’s not the soundest horse, that’s well known, so we just need to see how he comes through this win,” Pizzuto said.

Majordan, who parked outside the leader and weakened late for seventh, is headed for a spell.

While Pizzuto’s other open-class star Tiger Tara is about to start fast work with a view to a racetrack return in late August.

But back to Queensland and while Cruz Bromac’s plans will be known very soon, fans will have to wait until next week for the verdict with defending Blacks A Fake champion Hectorjayjay.

Despite his sparkling comeback win at Kilmore last Friday, where he paced a 54.8sec last half outside the leader, new trainer-driver Gavin Lang still only seems lukewarm on heading north.

“He’s racing again next weekend and Gavin will make his final decision then,” part-owner Mick Harvey said.

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