Zeyrek from last to first in the Craven Plate

A decision to ride Zeyrek quietly despite a lack of obvious tempo has reaped rewards for Team Hawkes with the gelding charging home to win the Craven Plate at Randwick.

Disappointed to see him settle midfield and wide in the King Charles III Stakes (1600m) last start, co-trainer Michael Hawkes gave Tyler Schiller strict instructions to let Zeyrek find his feet in Saturday’s 1800 metre contest.

Schiller executed the plan to perfection, nursing Zeyrek (who was at $9.50 with betting sites) for as long as possible before presenting him in the straight and the gelding stormed home to deny Renaissance Woman ($4.60) by a half-head with Skyman ($26) another neck away in a blanket finish.

“He was supposed to be ridden cold last start and unfortunately didn’t get the best of rides in the King Charles but it was a tough effort,” Hawkes said.

“Today, there wasn’t a lot of pace, people were a little bit worried about that but I just said to Tyler, ‘you’ve got to ride the horse’ and have a bit of confidence.

“Today was a lot easier race obviously, Tyler just stalked them.

“When it got to about the 600, I said to my wife Claire, ‘if he can’t win today he never will’.”

Schiller said it was an enormous performance from Zeyrek given the moderate tempo, adding the horse surged again when it mattered most.

“I knew there wasn’t too much pace today so to go back and make up that much ground, I think he’s done a terrific job,” Schiller said.

“I was always confident following Renaissance Woman that we were going to get the right tow into the race, it was just whether we had enough turn of foot to beat them.

“In the end he did, and I thought he might’ve got there a little bit too soon but he was strong late.”

Hawkes hasn’t ruled out backing up Zeyrek in the Rosehill Gold Cup next Saturday but will monitor him this week before making a final decision.

“He’s a possibility. We’ve got Wild Planet going for that,” Hawkes said.

“There is no real rush for him. It’s a good place to be, Sydney at the moment with the prizemoney, so we’ll just see what happens.”

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