Sweetzou won Heat 5 of the Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge
By Ben Caluzzi
Speedy four-year-old mare Sweetzou will be looking to win her second consecutive race at The Valley when she steps out in Heat 9 of the Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge on Friday night.
The well-bred daughter of Zoustar was an impressive winner in Heat 5 last month, and Pakenham’s newest training partnership in John and Tom Sadler will be hoping she can beat her previous time of 55.40 and possibly even challenge the clubhouse leader Curran who ran 54.61 in Heat 1.
Exhibiting an astonishing first-up record of four starts for three wins, Sweetzou has shown a strong liking to being kept fresh in her preparation, and the Sadler training partnership have again utilised that pattern by leaving a one-month gap between her assignments.
Now with a rising handicap rating of 72, Sweetzou’s true assigned weight for Friday’s Benchmark 64 is a sizeable 64 kilograms, but after the 2 kilogram mare’s allowance and apprentice jockey Matthew Cartwright’s 2 kilogram claim she will carry a more manageable 60 kilogram – a mark co-trainer Tom Sadler is more than content with.
“60 kilograms in a Benchmark 64, where she’s been very dominant her last start and has seemed to improve, we’re happy to carry that sort of weight,” Sadler said.
Sweetzou was also entered for a Benchmark 78 at Flemington on Saturday, but the lure of the $55,000 trainer’s prize for winning the Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge has swayed Team Sadler to The Valley once more.
The ambitions of running the best time this Friday night are also likely to be made more achievable with the warm conditions predicted. The first 30-degree day of the Friday night season is forecast this week and the track is sure to be playing fast, with the rail remaining in the True position where all bar one (3000m) of The Valley’s track records have taken place.
“Obviously she’s got a brilliant turn of foot as she showed first-up this preparation.
“It would be lovely if she could get the fastest time. It would be fantastic prizemoney for the stable so at the moment that’s our short-term goal.”
Sweetzou was able to lead and win on one occasion at Sandown, but last start here at The Valley she displayed a terrific burst of acceleration from well back in the field. Given that, instructions to jockey Matthew Cartwright are likely to be succinct, and the only word of advice will be to keep riding her out to the line.
“The tempo of the race really predicts where she’ll sit.
"She’s so versatile that wherever she’s travelling best whether up on speed or back off them like last time – we’re just happy where she’s comfortable.”
Tom Sadler has only been in training with his father John for a matter of months and is enjoying the challenge of his new caper after making the transition from a jockey, where he rode competitively for 10 years.
The pair relocated from Caulfield to Pakenham around the same time as they became a partnership, and it has been a baptism of fire for Tom who says he has never been busier.
“It’s been good. It’s been a real challenge.
“The feature of my involvement with them (previously) was just in their work.
“The transition from that to being with them from the time they wake up to giving them their dinner and really learning their idiosyncrasies has certainly been a challenge I’ve enjoyed so far.”
The Sadlers’ next challenge will be winning again this Friday night with Sweetzou, and one of her idiosyncrasies is thinking she is the queen of the stable, a trait Tom and the team are happy to go along with as long as she keeps producing out on the track.
“She can be a little bit moody, but I suppose she knows she has good ability.
“She wants to be the boss and we try to keep her thinking that she is.”