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Zabeelionaire needs pace in Doomben Cup
Stephen Rodgers
17:12 AEST Sun May 12 2013

Connections of Zabeelionaire say a fast tempo will be the key to Zabeelionaire's chances in Saturday's Doomben Cup.

The 2012 South Australian Derby winner's on-again, off-again, Queensland campaign is back on again after his eye-catching third at Flemington on May 4.

"We're coming up just hoping it's going to be a fast run Doomben Cup because that's the only way he can figure in the finish," part-owner Brad Spicer said.

"If they put the pace right on he's a horse that can get them late."

Trainer Leon Corstens added blinkers to the gear of Zabeelionaire after the entire's inglorious first-up performance when he finished last in the Pink Ribbon Cup (1400m) at Caulfield on April 20.

After running second in a Cranbourne barrier trial with the new gear, Zabeelionaire ran third to Whisper Downs at Flemington five days later.

"I was very disappointed with his first-up run but his second-up run was much better," Spicer said.

"Nick Hall got off after the race and said he's back on track."

The lure of another Group One title to add to his Derby was another factor in the decision to send Zabeelionaire north.

"If we can get that second Group One next to his name on his CV it makes him even more attractive as a stallion prospect later on," Spicer said.

Like most entires, Zabeelionaire's attention span presents constant challenges.

"I think you've got to keep changing things with him," Spicer said.

"With these older horses you've got to try little different things every now and then to try and spur them on."

Spicer suspects Zabeelionaire might be looking for further than the 2000 metres of the Doomben Cup with the Brisbane Cup (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 8 firmly on his agenda.

"A race like the Brisbane Cup might be more suitable to him but in saying that it's (Doomben Cup) a Group One and there are no superstars in the race," he said.

Zabeelionaire failed at his only previous start in Brisbane when he ran sixth in last year's Queensland Derby won by Brambles.

"Is he going as good as he was last year? I'm not quite sure but after he raced at Flemington I spoke to Leon and my gut feeling was he's probably not good enough to go up for the Doomben Cup," Spicer said.

"But as Leon said things didn't go his way that day when they walked in front and they sprinted home and left him flat-footed.

"Whisper Downs, who is flying, out sprinted us plain and simple but he had 6-1/2 kilos on us as well and he's in rare form."

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