Zaidan can make amends
Punters have been left with worthless tickets on John Moore's Zaidan in his last two starts, but he can make amends in the Sha Tin Mile Trophy (1,600m) today.
Jockey Darren Beadman was comparing Zaidan's tenacity and competitive nature to former Australian great Octagonal after the colt ran down Familists to win his second local start over 1,400m. It was a fine start to his career after he had shown huge promise in England, and he looked a serious player for the four-year-old Group Ones next season, then things soured quickly with a ninth and a last.
But there have been significant excuses on each occasion, with Beadman blaming the shifty track conditions on May 21 behind Hot Shot, and there were more obvious complications on June 19.
Going up to 1,800m for the first time, Zaidan was more stirred up behind the gates than previously according to Beadman, then was already compromising his chances by overracing even before he took a heavy check at the 1,100m.
He put little into his race thereafter and Beadman didn't punish him when he was beaten, but the million dollar question is whether Zaidan (Jeff Lloyd) has had enough for the moment, especially being a colt.
Beadman looks to have voted that way, switching to stablemate Silver Grecian, though he can't ride them all and the grey also looks a strong chance.
Lloyd has had a positive effect on some of Moore's talented European imports, notably Jacobee and Mighty High last season, and more recently Destined For Glory, so Zaidan is worthy of another chance with the South African and side winkers going on.
The problem for both Moore runners is tempo - there are horses which race handy but no obvious leader unless Caspar Fownes' Blue Sky or Mark Up are sent forward.
The horse best suited by the circumstances of the race will be National Treasure (Douglas Whyte), blessed with tactical speed and a terrific win rate but he is also climbing up the weights. Zaidan is definitely the more talented horse and getting six pounds from National Treasure, but what Size's runner will have in his corner is the pace and the luck.