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New Zealand Racing News
Wednesday, August 10 2016

By: Mark Nowell

Former top class runner in Italy and Hong Kong, Willie Cazals is set to make his long awaited debut in this country in the Group Two Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate (1200m) here at Te Rapa on Saturday.

The Irish-bred nine year-old showed enormous potential early in his career in Italy after splitting Crackerjack King and super-filly Danedream when runner-up in the Group Two Derby Italiano of 2011.

Danedream went onto win the Group One Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in record time that year.

The then colt defeated Sneak A Peek, by five lengths in the Listed Premio Merano (2000m) before moving to Tony Cruz's stable in Hong Kong.

A middle distance specialist in a jurisdiction where such races are not frequently offered, Willie Cazals was beaten a nose by subsequent Hong Kong Vase winner Dominant in the Group Three Queen Mother Memorial and runner-up to California Memory in the Group One Champions and Chater Cup in 2013.

In the 2013-14 season Willie Cazals was restricted to only four starts in Hong Kong, all under 2000 metres. His best finish was third to top Hong Kong performer Blazing Speed.

In his final season in Hong Kong, Willie Cazals finished a fast finishing second the world-rated Flintshire in the 2014 Group One Hong Kong Vase.

Willie Cazals, by the American sire Aussie Rules out of the Irish mare Secrete Marina, had a fantastic record at middle distances in Hong Kong. In four starts further than 2200m, Willie Cazals won one and finished second on three occasions (all Group races).

It was enough for Cruz to aim the gelding towards the 2014 Melbourne Cup, but through injury Cruz aimed the grey to the Hong Kong Vase instead.

In final appearance in Hong Kong, Willie Cazals finished sixth in the Group Three Centenary Vase (1800m) in February last year.

His Hong Kong record was 16 starts, one win and 7 placings earning over HK$7.8 million (NZ$1.4 million).

Willie Cazals was then sent to Wexford Stables, with Lance O'Sullivan and Andrew Scott.

"We gave him a year off on the hills to get over any aches and pains. He's trouble-free at this stage and we may get him to Hastings for the last Group One," co-trainer Andrew Scott said.

He is an interesting runner in Saturday's Group Two feature here at Te Rapa. He is also nominated for the Livamol Classic.

Posted by: Mark Nowell AT 07:16 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email