A horse that can beat Surcharge (Yulong Prince) and Lobo’s Legend in respective races must be some way above average. Horseplayers who looked back in lightly-raced Down To Zero’s formline would’ve spotted these outstanding successes and his good win in Sunday’s Gr3 Tommy Hotspur Handicap over 1000m would’ve come as no surprise.
Not many punters focused on this, however, or perhaps they argued that the Gr1-winning exported pair were no sprinters and that those lines carried limited merit for Down To Zero, who started at 20-1. As we see time and again, however, the beating of stakes- and graded winners over any distance should be noted as showing definite class in the winning runner.
Trainer Mike Azzie commented: “I bought Down To Zero at the CTS March Yearling Sale in 2016 and while he’s always had the mettle to win a race like this, he is a heavy horse, thick in the neck. He became coltish, hence the patchiness in his form, and I recommended to his owners we geld him last December. This has obviously done the trick for him, it was his first run following the gelding and he won with a bit in hand. We’d like to aim him at the Computaform Sprint next.”
Down to Zero, a Judpot bred by Terry Andrew, races for Paul Cotterell, Allan and John Carr.
The Azzie stable’s Will Pays ran a big race in a Pinnacle Stakes over 1400m, shouldering 61,5kg in a close second to the 2918 Gr1 Summer Cup winner Tilbury Fort, who won in the very last stride. “He was checked a few times and if not for that he would’ve won it,” said Azzie.
Seven-year-old Will Pays is being prepared for the Gr2 Hawaii Stakes over 1400m, a race in which he defeated Coral Fever at level weights last year.
Photo: Down To Zero (green silks) wins under Marco van Rensburg.