25 January 2022

Princess Zoe to limber up for overseas mission with Leopardstown gallop

25 January 2022

Princess Zoe will have what Tony Mullins hopes will resemble a “mini race” in a gallop at Leopardstown before heading out to Saudi Arabia.

Mullins’ star stayer was last seen finishing fifth to Trueshan in Prix du Cadran and while she went winless last year following her incredible exploits in 2020, she did finish runner-up to Subjectivist in the Gold Cup at Ascot.

Mullins is keen to give his stable star a strong piece of work before she heads out to contest the $2.5million Red Sea Turf Handicap, over just short of two miles.

“Everything is going according to plan. I don’t want Saudi to be her first run of the season so I’m inventing my own little mini race. It’ll only be two or three horses, but it will give her that feel that she’s got a run under her belt,” said Mullins.

“We’ll be going genuine racing pace and it depends on the ground how far we’ll go. If there’s a good cut in the ground, we’ll go 12 furlongs and if it’s a bit quicker we might go a mile and six.

Tony Mullins with Princess Zoe following a win at Galway (PA Wire) (PA Wire)

“There was nowhere for her to run because we have not got a winter programme suitable for horses of her calibre here in Ireland. We’re treating this as a run to put her spot on for Saudi.

“She did a couple of bits of work last week and she’ll do a couple of bits between now and the Dublin Festival. You can do all the work you like at home, but I just love a strong bit of work in Leopardstown.”

Mullins had been worried about fast ground in the past for his mare but her excellent run at Royal Ascot dampened those fears.

I hear the Japanese horses are very good, but they’ll have to be!

He said: “We were always worried about fast ground, but she seemed to handle it very well in Royal Ascot. The minute that happened I said, ‘Saudi is the place I want to go’.

“In our opinion the Saudi Cup is the new go-to race meeting of the year. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t the prize money.

“I’ve only seen videos of the track in Riyadh – I haven’t actually stepped out on it. It looks like a beautiful track, albeit a little bit sharp for staying horses. Maybe that will suit her – I certainly don’t see any reason why the track won’t.

“I hear the Japanese horses are very good, but they’ll have to be!”

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