Cup winner on track to defend crown

By Jonny Turner

Plans are in place for Cruz Bromac to head back to Addington to defend his New Zealand Cup crown on the second Tuesday in November.

The nine-year-old, who has not been sighted at the races since December of last year, has been in work for more than two months at Amanda Greive’s Victorian stable and is nearing a racetrack return.

Managing part owner Danny Zavitsanos was at centre of incredible post-race scenes when he picked up Mark Purdon and spun him around on his shoulder in jubilation after winning New Zealand’s greatest race, last year.

Zavitsanos, who races Cruz Bromac with wife Joanna, Peter and Zilla O'Shea and Warren Viney, would love nothing more than to re-enact the scene after this year’s race.

“If I can get back there and win it I would pick both Mark and Natalie up – one in each arm.”

The COVID-19 situation in Australasia, particularly in Victoria, means Zavitsanos is unlikely to be at this year’s cup in person. 

But, with horses able to fly across the Tasman without too many restrictions, there is a big chance Cruz Bromac will be back to defend his crown.

“That is my goal – to bring the horse back,” Zavitsanos said.

“We are basically following the same programme as last year.”

“Our aim is the Victoria Cup, a similar target to what we had last year, and if all goes well and he is coming back a treat he will be coming back to defend the cup.”

The Victoria Cup is down to be run at Melton on October 10.

However, Harness Racing Victoria have signalled it would not go ahead unless horses from other states in Australia can compete.

That looks a long way off given horses can only race in their own region within Victoria at the moment.

Cruz Bromac ran third in the Victoria Cup last year before joining Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen’s All Stars stable.

The pacer won the New Zealand Cup after a ninth in the Ashburton Flying Stakes and second in the Kaikoura Cup and was unlucky not to double up in the New Zealand Free For All when going to the line hard held after an early gallop cost him a better position.

All signs look positive for Cruz Bromac to make it back to the All Stars stable given his trip relies on him being in good shape and good form.

“He is in really good order – he is probably about two to three weeks off a trial,” Zavitsanos said.

“He has been in work about two and a half months.”

“The horse is good, everything is well and he is actually coming up a treat.”

“He is nine years old, but like last year so long as the heavens open up for us we are always a chance.”

“I think the 3200m suits him down to the ground.”

“And he is a sprinter, too, he was probably unlucky not to win the free-for-all on the Friday if he didn’t make a mistake.”

Cruz Bromac has not started since running fifth behind Ultimate Sniper in the Interdominion Grand Final for Purdon and Rasmussen.

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