Graeme Hammarquist is back smiling and feeling contented again with news that Zeronimo’s Carnarvon Cup aspirations are back on track.
The Geraldton trainer was left down cast when Zeronimo developed a minor leg injury after his first-up third to Desabelle over 1500m on July 21.
Hammarquist was reliving last year’s heartbreak when Zeronimo was forced out of the Carnarvon Cup with a foot abscess.
The Danzero gelding was in top form and a leading candidate for the staying feature after scoring two wins and two placings from his four appearances.
“He just had some minor leg swelling and although it wasn’t serious I wasn’t going to take any chances with him,” said Hammarquist.
“He is too good a horse to take a risk with.
“He worked extremely well during the week and he will be right to go.”
Zeronimo, to be ridden by apprentice jockey Sasha Starley, has drawn barrier four in the Bob Burkett Memorial –Exmouth Cup (1600m).
Nominal favourite El Tegra, from the stables of leading trainer Noel Pateman, will jump from barrier 12 in the field of 13.
The More Than Ready gelding has enjoyed a near faultless campaign with four wins from six starts, including the last three in succession.
“He is absolutely flying at the moment,” said Hammarquist.
“Whoever goes past him will be winning the race.”
Hammarquist will take last-start victor Sugar Stroller and stable mate Typhoon Strike into the Avis Exmouth Handicap (1200m).
The pair clashed in a 1200m contest on August 5 with Sugar Stroller scoring a fighting neck win over Al Shamardal.
Typhoon Strike finished fifth in the field of six and although unplaced he was less than three lengths from the winner.
“I don’t think there is too much between them,” said Hammarquist.
“Typhoon Strike got stuck on the boggier side of the track but was making very good ground late.
“Sugar Stroller is spot on but lumping around weight is a slight concern.”