Hardman Unfazed By Uninspiring Gardens Trial

Bathurst Cup hero Zulu Warlord will ramp up his assault on the Black Top when he clashes with Mickey Doo at The Gardens on Saturday night.

Adam Dobbin

1 September 2021

Bathurst Cup hero Zulu Warlord will ramp up his assault on the Group 2 Black Top when he clashes with exciting youngster Mickey Doo at The Gardens on Saturday night.

In sublime form with wins at his four most recent appearances, Zulu Warlord had his first look at The Gardens last Saturday night when peeling off 29.66 in a solo-trial for the 515 metres.

It was a trial performance that disappointed trainer Mick Hardman but one didn’t come as a real surprise.

“He hasn’t really stretched himself in solo trials for a good six months now,” Hardman said about his zone 2 NSW National Sprint winner.

“He’s got a bit cagey as he’s got older and keeps his best for race day which is just fine with me.

“I thought he’d run 17.10 up the back straight and he went 17.45 and early he ran 5.17 which is walking – I could run that. But in a field we’ll see a different dog on Saturday night.”

FIELDS AND FORM THE GARDENS SATURDAY NIGHT

Zulu Warlord will exit box two in Saturday night’s six dog free-for-all for his hotly anticipated clash with Mickey Doo.

Trained by Mark Davidson, Mickey Doo has created a huge impression in nine career starts boasting six wins and a further two placings.

But on Saturday night he is a victim of his early success, harshly graded against one of the state’s best sprinters after just nine starts.

“He’s an exciting up and comer; he’s been really impressive,” Hardman said.

“It should make for a good race.”

Heats of Group 2 Black Top are slated for October 1 with the $40,000-to-the-winner finale a week later on October 8.

It’s scheduled to be the next group event staged in New South Wales but with the ongoing Covid crisis curtailing recent feature races, Hardman is remaining cautiously optimistic about the race proceeding.

“I’ve heard a few different things so it would be great to get a definitive yes or no,” he said.

“It’ll be disappointing if it’s not on. We had the option to send the dog to Adelaide for the Adelaide Cup but decided to stay home and support local racing.

“The sooner we know the better.”