New Zealand jumper Zed Em created history when winning the A$100,000 Von Doussa Steeplechase (3250m) at Oakbank in South Australia on Sunday in the hands of Steve Pateman.
The Patrick Payne-trained son of Zed became just the second horse in the race’s rich history to win it on three successive occasions.
It was a dominant display by the odds-on favourite and Pateman believes the jumper, who was prepared by Kevin Myers in New Zealand, may be an even better horse in 2019 as an eight-year-old.
“He’s even better this year,’’ Pateman told the Adelaide Advertiser.
“The big thing was he just relaxed beautifully in the run.
“He put himself in the box seat and travelled perfectly.’’
Zed Em settled just behind the race leader Zataglio, with Pateman opting to race outside the leader with a circuit to travel.
He put the foot to the floor up the hill on the final occasion before breaking away from his rivals clearing the last hedge to win by just under five lengths.
Pateman said it puts the Patrick Payne chaser in an enviable position early in the Australian jumps racing season.
“The way he settled today will really be a huge asset coming back here for the Great Eastern (in two weeks’ time) and then the Grand Annual at Warrnambool,’’ Pateman said.
“That used to be his main issue, he was always difficult when it came to getting him to settle in his races but today he was super.”
The horse is owned by Wairarapa farmers Roz and Mike Southey, Jenny and Craig Booth, and Bill Shannon and has won 14 races and the best part of $700,000 in prizemoney.
Zed Em’s victory continues the outstanding run of form by the progeny of Grangwilliam Stud stallion Zed.
Zed, a son of Zabeel who stands for just $4,000, will be represented by strong favourite Verry Elleegant in Saturday’s Gr.1 Australian Oaks (2400m), while his seven-year-old son Jacksstar recently won the Gr.2 Awapuni Gold Cup (2000m). – NZ Racing Desk