Leading apprentice, Aaron Mitchell, capped a red-letter day when he partnered Zarantz to a comfortable victory in the RSLWA-Western Australia Cup (3200m) at Ascot yesterday.
The Choisir gelding, co-trained by Grant and Alana Williams, gave Mitchell the key leg of a riding treble after he won earlier on Key To Fame and Remember Berlin.
Mitchell had Zarantz, who posted his first Ascot success in 12 attempts, patiently settled at the back of the field before snatching the lead from Dark Alert.
With a superior finishing sprint, Zarantz kicked clear and put the race beyond doubt passing the 200m, defeating Sunset Superman by 2 ¼ lengths.
Le Schiller, one of three starters in the race for trainer, Fred Kersley, ran third. $1.50 favourite, Dark Alert, failed to see out the two miles and faded to fourth.
“It’s just a great win on this horse and especially for Mr Fogarty (owner) and Grant and Alana Williams,” Mitchell said.
“The horse was fit and ready to run a big race.”
Earlier Miller and Remember Berlin combined for a breathtaking victory after giving punters a major scare in the Point2 Solutions Dallaglio Rugbyworks Handicap (1000m).
Trained by Simon Miller, Remember Berlin lost ground at the start and had the task ahead of him when he turned for home in second last position.
But Perth’s leading apprentice never panicked and in a cool and composed ride the talented youngster weaved his way between runners.
With 50m remaining, Remember Berlin, who started a $2.10 favourite, raced away to post a dominant 1 ¾ length victory.
Bells Tower grabbed second place from Roman Fighter who found the lead soon after the start and gave the back markers something to chase.
“I had to be patient and wait for the right splits,” Mitchell said.
“It gives you confidence when you are on a good horse.”
Meanwhile Variation will be aimed at the Belmont Guineas (1600m) in June after underlying his class against older horses in the Diggers Cup (1400m).
After winning the Listed Raconteur Stakes (1500m) last-start, the War Chant gelding held on to defeat the fast-finishing, Red Publisher by a short-head.