Day At The Track

Greg claims cup with 50/1 bolter

08:00 AM 15 Feb 2021 NZDT
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Jubilant trainer Greg Norman and driver Jodi Quinlan at the presentation dais with passionate industry supporter John Hawke of Renown Silverware, Harness racing
Jubilant trainer Greg Norman and driver Jodi Quinlan at the presentation dais with passionate industry supporter John Hawke of Renown Silverware
Ararat HRC Photo

A blowout win in Friday night’s Ararat Pacing Cup by underrated pacer Zadaka gave former South Australian harness racing trainer Greg Norman one of his sweetest victories since moving his training base to Victoria.

Despite a consistent formline (including two Melton wins since November) Zadaka (Mach Three – Copper Beach (Beach Towel) got under the radar of punters in the Renown Silverware G3 Cup, and was sent around at the luxury odds of $54.

Norman was one of the few not surprised when the pacer steamed to victory for driver Jodi Quinlan.

“He’s a lovely horse – and before he came out here to Australia he did make a final of the New Zealand Cup, so he’s not without ability,” Norman said.

“Certainly, he was outclassed in the NZ Cup, but even to make it into the field for that race is not that easy,” he said.

“He’s been racing really consistently but most judges thought he was a bit out of his depth at Ararat.  I felt he was over the odds, though and just needed things to go his way.  Thankfully they did!”

Zadaka is raced by one of the most passionate harness racing ownerships in the sport – Terry Cormack and his sons Adam and Ben. The South Australian businessmen have properties in South Australia, and about 40 horses in their ownership, placed with stables in Victoria, NSW, WA and in New Zealand.

From barrier six, Quinlan elected to go back and put Zadaka to sleep at the rear.  She didn’t spend a penny more than she had to, and scored a head victory over Majestic Cruiser and Im Anothermasterpiece clocking 1:57.9 (29.7 29.8 28.0 30.0)

Watch the race replay click here!

“It was a terrific drive by Jodi.  If he’s driven cold, he will always get to the line hard if they run along, and that was the way it panned out,” Norman said.

“Kerryn (Manning) is the Cormacks’ driver, but Jodi’s won some nice races for us, and she ran fourth for us in the Hunter Cup a few years back with Adam Cartwright so we’ve had a pretty good affiliation with her over the years.”

After spending plenty of time campaigning with success in Victoria, the former South Australian decided 18 months ago that the time was right to border hop and try his luck. 

He is based at the Charlton harness racing training complex, located on 12 hectares on the edge of town and is one of the Cormacks’ private trainers, currently with eight horses in work.

“They’re fantastic owners, just passionate about the sport. Harness racing could do with a few more like them!” Norman said.

Zadaka was purchased by the Cormacks from New Zealand in 2019 as a last-start winner for Robert Dunn. 

“They bought him for the South Australian Cup, but the day he arrived out here it was about 50 degrees – it knocked him about a bit.  He had a couple of runs for us, then went for a spell, and they sent him up to Tim Butt a few months later,” Norman said.

Zadaka won two races in his NSW campaign, and was then returned to Norman, who was by then based in Victoria.  He’s since won three races, two at Melton and the Ararat Cup, from nine starts.

“He’s one of those old geldings who lays his ears back at you, but doesn’t mean it.  He’s a good horse to have around and he’s in great form at the moment,” Norman said.

“The only difficulty is now finding races to suit.  I don’t think he will handle it if I back him up for a fourth run in four weeks in the coming Terang Cup, but in the couple of weeks beyond that there really isn’t much around for him.

“He’s now a 100 NR class – the Melton races are up to 99, the cups programmed over the next little while are for horses only up to 95, and there’s a fast-class at Mildura, but the conditions require him to have had five starts up there. So it’s a case of freshening him a bit and finding something suitable.”

 

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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