Day At The Track

Our Zak Whitby has the breeding

03:59 PM 29 Jun 2017 NZST
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Our Zak Whitby
Our Zak Whitby
Scott Hamilton Photo

Friday night's Group 1 Owners Only Westbred 3YO Colts and Geldings Pace (2130m) at Gloucester Park has attracted a quality field of youngsters but if there's one pacer in the race that was bred to win such a prestigious $100,000 feature then you should look no further than Our Zak Whitby and his form's not half bad either. He's won at four of his past five starts and will have the services of champion harness racing reinsman Chris Lewis.

The Edwin Dewar bred, owned and trained Mach Three bay colt is bred in the purple with Dewar breeding from his great, grand dam Remit. Dewar also bred and owned Our Zak Whitby's grand dam, Whitby's Merit (15 wins and more than $107,000 in stakes), and the dam, Zerina Whitby (eight wins and just over $55,000 in prize money). "Our Zak Whitby's from the same family as Adore Me and a few other stars from the Mark Purdon camp," Dewar said. "Remit is a half-sister to Adore Me's great, grand dam Time Lag - it's a great family."

Adore Me, who was retired about two years ago, holds the Australasian record for a mile by a pacer. She set the record for the fastest mile by a pacer outside of North America when she stopped the clock at 1:47.7 at Menangle in March, 2015. Adore Me was New Zealand’s champion three and four-year-old, but her career went to another level when she smashed the world record for the 3200m standing start, winning New Zealand’s greatest harness race, the New Zealand Cup at Addington.

She then recorded a series of huge summer performances which left little doubt she was the greatest female harness horse produced in the southern hemisphere. The five-year-old mare was retired after 36 starts for 26 wins and seven placings for $1,677,032 in earnings, including 12 Group 1 wins.

It's certainly a blue-blood family and Our Zak Whitby is only now starting to show the potential that Dewar always expected from the horse. "He was very unlucky as a two-year-old and never seemed to get a draw, especially in the big races," Dewar said. "He then developed hoof problems and we had to wait until his hoof grew out before we could put him back into work. That's why you never saw much of him as an early three-year-old. He's only now starting to hit his straps and he's racing in the best form that he ever has. It's an interesting race on Friday night with many chances, but I expect him to acquit himself well."

Our Zak Whitby will have to be at his best after drawing poorly in gate 12 for Friday night’s feature although that is somewhat offset by Lewis' ability in the bike, it is a very even field with several realistic winning chances.

Cases can be made for last-start winners Kerrin Joseph (gate 11), Baylan Jett (4) and the ever consistent grey Anvil Rollover (6), who is shooting for five wins on the trot. Throw in the WA Derby winner Handsandwheels (3), Davinci Diamond (2), Justin Prentice's two charges Bettor Be Lively (7) and Courage To Live (10), along with Lord Willoughby (9) and Bob Wheel (8) and you have a cracker of a race. However, there can only be one winner and if that winner is decided on breeding then Our Zak Whitby gets the nod.

Wayne Currall

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