Horses To Follow » Zanza


Zanza only dead-heated for sixth place in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday, but plenty went wrong for him through the race, and he did well to keep on as well as he did, beaten a total of less than six lengths by the winner Midnight Shadow in the end. He had a good position early on, but he made a couple of early mistakes, with the result that he was shuffled back in the field. No better than 13th or 14th and under pressure jumping the third last fence, he stayed on well from there, and he showed a lot of guts over the last two fences and up the hill to force a dead-heat for sixth place with Simply The Betts.

There was a worry going into the race that Cheltenham didn’t play to Zanza’a strengths. In four previous runs there, the best he had managed was sixth, although he was travelling well when he fell at the third last fence in a two-mile handicap chase at last season’s December meeting, and he was halted in his tracks when Embittered fell in front of him going down the back straight in the Grand Annual in March. Even so, his best form is at Newbury, a flat galloping track. His record there reads 1161, the 6 recorded in the Betfair Hurdle in 2020, when he was beaten a total of two lengths. He was impressive in winning a good two-mile handicap chase at the Ladbrokes Trophy meeting there last year, and he will be of interest if he goes back to that meeting now in two weeks’ time. The other thing worth noting about Saturday’s run is that he was strong at the end of this extended two-and-a-half-mile trip, the longest trip over which he has ever raced, and that opens up options. He is only seven and there could still be more to come.
Cheltenham, 13th November 2021