A stunning performance by progressive three-year-old Son Of Zac provided one the major highlights at Riccarton on the weekend.
The lightly raced Zacinto gelding had broken his maiden status over 1600 metres at the venue nine days earlier and was warmly favoured to be prominent again in Saturday's rating 65 1800 metre contest. However not many of his supporters who had installed him as favourite in the Cochranes Farm Machinery sponsored event held out much hope when he was a conservative 30 lengths astern of tearaway pacemaker Missteeflying with just 750 metres to run.
Rider Courtney Barnes didn't panic as she eased her charge to the outside rail at the point of the home turn and began to make a sustained sprint. Still well in arrears halfway down the straight, Son Of Zac sprouted wings and dashed home to score by a rapidly increasing one and half lengths at the winning post.
Co-trainer Kevin Hughes, who prepares the gelding with wife Pam, was full of smiles when interviewed after the race.
"I had said to Courtney just bring him out down the middle as the ground is a wee bit better out there," he explained.
"When he was thirty lengths last I did think we're in a bit of trouble here!"
Hughes admitted he held the horse in high regard and had even considered a start in the New Zealand Derby earlier in his preparation.
"As I've told people I thought he was my Derby horse but he's just running late," he quipped.
"He's got a good future. I've always liked him as although there's not much of him he's got a big heart."
Son Of Zac is the fourth foal of handy racemare Oxford Aunt and is the half-brother to the well performed Double Blue who won seven races from a 43-start career.