The well-supported Spacewalk looked to have The Rosebud in his keeping at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, but the John O’Shea-trained Zoukerino had other ideas.
Spacewalk loomed up and shot to the front in the closing stages of the Listed feature, but after laying in in the concluding stages of the race, the Godolphin colt threw the race away and Zoukerino snatched it from his grasp under Brenton Avdulla.
Now with two wins from as many starts, Zoukerino looks to be one of the most exciting three-year-olds ahead of the spring carnival, with the Golden Rose right on O’Shea’s radar.
The Rosebud 2022 Replay
“That’s a very, very good performance to do that at your second start and in very good company,” O’Shea said.
“I think the thing is – Brenton’s got so much confidence in him – he just rode him beautifully, so patient and he just backed his horse.”
O’Shea said he and his team had to “resist the temptation” to run him in the autumn as a two-year-old, with the belief that he was still a preparation away from being the completed package.
That decision has now paid dividends.
“We resisted the temptation to run him in the autumn,” the trainer said.
“I just said to the ownership group then, ‘I still reckon he’s a prep away; if we can give him a light winter prep – and he just had a couple of little things that meant we couldn’t get to the races any sooner – but he still had a little win at two, which is important for his profile, and he’s just come on so nicely from his win.
“We thought we’d take the opportunity and see if we can get a little bit of blacktype early in his career.
“Today was a pretty important race for him to see if he’d made the transition. He’s in all those race and we’ll just play it by ear.”
Zoukerino is now a $15 chance with online bookmakers for the Golden Rose.