ShamExpress’ daughter Zola Express wins the Wanganui Cup


Underrated New Plymouth mare Zola Express (ShamExpress) captured the biggest win of her burgeoning career when she claimed the Listed Steelform Roofing Group Wanganui Cup (2040m) at the weekend.

The Janelle Millar-trained five-year-old has struck a purple patch of form since commencing her latest campaign, winning her first two starts this season before not having much luck in her next two races prior to Saturday’s contest.

Millar legged aboard lightweight jockey Chris Dell for his first ride on the mare on Saturday, who carried just 54kgs and he responded with a sparkling effort that saw the pair come from well back on the home bend to pierce between runners and stride home to win by just on a length from Motivation and Bully Boy.

Millar was thrilled with the result and the ride by Dell.

“I said to Chris to just be patient and not to panic if he was well back as she can really finish her races off”, she said.

“He handled her so well and when I could see her start to sprint in the straight, I knew she was going to be thereabouts.”

Raced on lease from her breeder Windsor Park Stud, Zola Express has 33 people involved in the ownership syndicate, with more than half on course to witness the victory.

“There is a really great bunch of people in her ownership and they are having such a good time with her,” Millar said.

“I picked her out of a paddock of six fillies at Windsor Park when I was there one day with Steve Till (General Manager) and he said she was the one he would have selected as well, which made me feel pretty good.

“She has always shown me a lot of ability but has taken time to mature.

“Now she is getting up in grade the better tracks will suit her and I think that by the time the autumn comes, she is going to be at her peak.

“We had targeted this race from the start of her campaign, so now she can have three to four weeks in the paddock before we get her back in and set her for some nice races that are coming up later in the summer and into the autumn.”

Zola Express is the second foal of the ill-fated Golan mare Zolana who is closely related to South African Group Three winner Theatre Of Dreams and 2004 New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the year, Taatletail. 

Zola Express becomes the sixth individual stakes winner and fourth stakes winning racemare for her successful young sire who stands at Windsor Park Stud.