John O’Shea has sights set on spring carnival with Zoukerino

John O’Shea has a theory that classy horses make an immediate racetrack impression and Snitzel youngster Zoukerino has done exactly that with a stylish debut win on Randwick’s Kensington track.

A $500,000 yearling buy, the colt had impressed O’Shea in his trials and trackwork but the trainer was unsure how he would cope with the heavy 10 conditions on Wednesday.

Watching on as Zoukerino stalked the speed then shouldered through a narrow split before sprinting clear and gapping his rivals, O’Shea’s opinion of the horse as a spring carnival contender was confirmed.

“I thought he was a Listed, Group 3 horse at worst and I’m always of the belief good horses do good things at their first start, irrespective of the circumstances,” O’Shea said.

“And I think he’s done a good thing there.”

Zoukerino ($4.40) jumped from the outside gate in the field of 10 but aided by a lovely ride from Brenton Avdulla he was in a class of his own, taking out the Furphy Plate (1100m) by 3-1/4 lengths over One Destiny ($31) with Capital Asset ($51) another long head away third.

Echoing O’Shea’s opinion, Avdulla said Zoukerino gave him the feel of horse who could progress to bigger races.

“He does give you that feel like he’s above-average,” Avdulla said.

“He gave me a lovey ride. He began, I was able to slot in behind James (McDonald on leader Renosu) and he took me where I needed to be. He probably didn’t take me far enough to be honest.

“He hit the front a long way out but to his credit, he did it very comfortably.”

McDonald had three rides at the meeting, his first since returning from Europe where he partnered Nature Strip to his memorable Royal Ascot victory, but the champion jockey was unable to get on the board, his best result a third aboard Tuhinga in the final race.

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