Zatopaz may never reach the heights of his brother Nom Du Jeu but trainer Bjorn Baker believes the Tattersalls Club Cup is within his grasp.
Nom Du Jeu, by Montjeu, won the 2008 Australian Derby and finished second in that year’s Caulfield Cup.
At the time, Baker was working with his father, New Zealand trainer Murray Baker, and the pair formed a partnership before Bjorn made a permanent move to Australia in 2011.
Friday’s Listed Tatts Cup (2400m) comes 10 days after Zabeel gelding Zatopaz won a midweek race over the same distance at Warwick Farm, his home track.
“He is going very well and getting better after each run,” Baker said.
“I think last time he seemed very dour and he’s ready for a stakes race.
“The topweight will be hard to beat but Zatopaz deserves his chance.”
Sir John Hawkwood is the topweight with 59kg for the Cup, a weight trainer David Vandyke concedes makes it hard with the seven-year-old who is giving 4-1/2 to 5kg to all his rivals.
Jiayuguan, second to Sir John Hawkwood in the Christmas Cup, is the $3 favourite and is on the 54kg limit.
Sir John Hawkwood is next at $4.20 while Zatopaz is a $7.50 chance.
Chris Waller has two in the mix – Quick Strike ($6.50) and Vilanova ($8.50), fourth and sixth respectively in the Christmas Cup.
“Vilanova didn’t have much luck last start,” Waller said.
“With a better run I think he can bridge the gap.
“Quick Strike was up with them in the Christmas Cup and if Jason (Collett) times his run, he’ll be right in it.”
The Cup might be an off-peak stakes race but Vandyke is using it as part of a plan to get Sir John Hawkwood to the Group One Sydney Cup in April.
“After Saturday he’ll have a short break and we will think about the best way to get him to the Sydney Cup,” he said.
“I think older horses like him are better off not having too long between runs and we’ll keep him ticking over.”
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au