After the frustration of watching Zoom Out finish runner-up three times at Group level, Michelle Mallia-Magri would dearly love to see her “bridesmaid” bury her feature race hoodoo in the Volkswagen Ballarat Cup.
While Zoom Out boasts the imposing strike rate of 24 wins from 50 starts, Group glory has proven elusive in several near-misses, having to settle for second prize in Sandown’s Laurels and the Warrnambool and Healesville Cups.
Zoom Out’s next target is the Group 2 Ballarat Cup, but surprisingly Avalon-based owner/trainer Mallia-Magri rates less-credentialed litter brother Burnout, which is on the comeback trail from a career-threatening injury, as her best chance in Saturday night’s heats.
“I’ll make a big call and say Burnout is my best chance,” said Mallia-Magri.
“Unfortunately, Zoom Out is getting a reputation as a regular bridesmaid after three seconds in Group races. But she’s been knocking on the door and it would be great to see her get a crack at another one.
“I think Zoom Out deserves to win a Group race but so does Burnout.
“He broke his leg in a really bad fall at Sandown in May and I didn’t think he would race again. He had two screws and zigzag wire put in to hold it together and I lasered him every morning and night for five months.
“He’s been airborne since he came back. He’s going as good if not better than Zoom Out and it would give me goose bumps to see him win a big race.”
Mallia-Magri’s assessment isn’t reflected in TAB’s markets, with Zoom Out (box 4) on the second line of betting at $4.80 in the second of eight cut-throat heats, while Burnout (box 3) is at $7.50 in the penultimate run-off.
“There’s not much between the two of them,” Mallia-Magri explained.
“They both won brilliantly at Warragul last week and then we trialled them over 390m at Ballarat earlier this week. Zoom Out went a length quicker but 450m is her caper, while 500m is Burnout’s.
“I don’t really like box four for Zoom Out in her heat; I’d prefer her drawn out wider but Burnout goes well from box three.
“Zoom Out is renowned for blowing the start but if she could come out of a box she would be one of the best bitches we’ve seen in Victoria. I know it’s a big statement but it’s true. We all know her turn of foot; when she gets through the field what she does is phenomenal.
“I own them both, so to be honest it won’t really faze me which one wins!”
While Mallia-Magri’s focus is very much on Saturday’s star-studded Ballarat meeting, she is already casting a keen eye towards next month’s Group 1 Hobart Thousand, having won the race with Blackall’s Boss in 2012 and been runner-up with Print The Money last year.
“We’ll worry about Ballarat first but I’m really looking forward to taking Zoom Out and Burnout down to Hobart. I think Hobart will really suit the dog (Burnout),” Mallia-Magri said.
“I’ve won the Hobart Thousand and only got beaten a nose last year but in all the times I’ve been down there I’ve never taken dogs as good as these two.”