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By Graham Potter | Saturday, September 17, 2022

Ten days after Zuma California gave Jasmine Cornish a very satisfying midweek win in town, the Cameron Richardson trained four-year-old made it two-in-a-row when saluting in a Class 3 Plate over 1200m at the Gold Coast on September 17.

This time the satisfaction level for the young ruder stepped up a notch as this was Cornish’s first Saturday metropolitan winner … which is always a landmark victory.

Zuma California’s previous victory, in a BM65 Handicap over 1200m at Eagle Farm had been achieved in clearcut fashion, winning by 1.75 lengths, but this time the Statue Of Liberty gelding did not have it all his own way.

In fact, the result was not signed and sealed until the very last stride.

With Cornish again taking a 3kg claim off Zuma California’s allotted weight of 59kg, the Richardson runner topped the betting boards at $2.15 with Safework next on offer at a starting price of $4.80.

Cornish made every use of Zuma California’s number two barrier draw, making certain her mount got away on terms with the field and then held a place on the rail in the leading line, before allowing the speed to go around her after 200m, as she settled in the perfect position, in third place, saving ground, just two and a half lengths off the leader.

At the halfway stage that scenario placed Zuma California a touch under four lengths ahead of her market rival Safework who had been taken back from a wide draw at the break.

Cornish kept the two leaders well and truly in her sights all through the sweep to the home turn where she eased Zuma California out three wide, into clear air, as she plotted her path home.

Zuma California cruised past the two early leaders with the minimum of fuss in the first half of the straight, but the race was far from won yet as Safework began unleashing a powerful run from behind.

When Zuma California hit the lead at the 200m mark, Safework was only a length behind him … and motoring.

At the 150m these two runners were locked together in a stride for stride battle with the momentum still appearing to be on the side of Safework … but Cornish and Zuma California didn’t blink.

Instead, they just kept right on laying down the challenge to Safework and his jockey Boris Thornton, who would rank as one of the strongest riders in a finish, and, in the end, Zuma California’s bravery and persistence prevailed as the photo finish showed that Zuma California had got home by the narrowest of margins.

Zuma California’s successive wins has taken his race record to four wins, two runner-up finishes and one third place from only eleven starts with $239 200 banked in prize-money.

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Photos: Graham Potter
Photos: Graham Potter
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