Black Top Heats Gardens D-Day For Zulu Warlord

MICK Hardman is confident that a change in preparation can lead to Zulu Warlord finding his best in Friday's Black Top heats at The Gardens.

Adam Dobbin

30 September 2021

TRAINER Mick Hardman is quietly confident that a change in preparation can lead to Zulu Warlord recapturing his best form in Friday night’s Black Top heats at Ladbrokes Gardens.

The prolific winning sprinter has had two lackluster race starts and a trial at Ladbrokes Gardens in the lead up to the Group 2 feature with Hardman walking away uninspired on each occasion.

“Friday night really is D-Day for him as far as the track is concerned,” Hardman said.

“If he doesn’t win or race really well he simply doesn’t like the place. I’ve changed his work going into Friday night and freshened him right up so there’s no excuses at all. He’s feeling fantastic.”

Winner at 15 of his 32 starts, Zulu Warlord began his assault on the $40,000-to-the-winner Black Top Series on the strength of four straight wins during June, July and August.

FIELDS AND FORM THE GARDENS FRIDAY NIGHT

Included in those performances was a slender NSW National Sprint victory over Jungle Deuce at Bathurst and a slick 29.63 romp at Dapto.

“Even though he was winning I wasn’t entirely happy with how he was going,” Hardman revealed. “I think his form flattered him a bit.

“So going into those two runs at The Gardens I really pumped the work into him and maybe looking back that left him a bit flat. But I’ve changed it right around this week and he goes into Friday night really fresh.

“He’s scratching the floor at home ready to go. I can’t fault him.”

Zulu Warlord – third in the Group 1 Paws Of Thunder earlier this year – has been installed $2.50 favourite for Friday night’s third heat ahead of Ritza William at $4 and Fire Legend at $4.40.

“Fire Legend is a very good, professional dog and he’ll be hard to beat,” Hardman said.

“He looks well drawn as well but he holds his line early so he shouldn’t give my dog any concerns early.

“This will be my fourth nine-hour round-trip with him up to Newcastle so hopefully it’s worth it and there’s a fifth one next week for the final.”

Heat one of the Sires On Ice sponsored series sees More Sauce the $1.50 favourite while his litter and kennelmate Casual Glance holds top billing in heat two at $2.90.

The fourth and final heat looms as a three-way clash between Ladies Bracelet winner Pay Call, Bob Payne Sprint hero Zipping Kyrgios and talented chaser Memphis Keeping.