Mark Zahra Aims for First Golden Slipper Win with Kalashnikov

SYDNEY, Australia — Mark Zahra targets winning his first-ever Golden Slipper victory. The Melbourne hoop will ride Kalashnikov in the forthcoming 1,200-metre horse racing competition. The Golden Slipper 2021 will be on Saturday, March 20, at the Rosehill Gardens Racecourse. Race details posted on Just Horse Racing indicated that if Zahra’s team bags the top prize, they would get to take home $3.5 million in cash prize.

According to the news posted online by Australian horse racing information and news portal Racenet, bloodstock agent and one of Kalashnikov’s owners, James Harron, has confirmed through a Twitter post that he has secured Zahra’s services to pilot the two-year-old bay colt. As the jockey is looking to be victorious in his first Golden Slipper tilt next week, he is expected to deliver his best performance aboard the Black Opal champion.

With TAB.com.au, Kalashnikov has obtained the $34-chance rating to give Zahra his maiden victory in the Golden Slipper 2021. His booking comes after the confirmation that David Eustace and Ciaron Maher are not pushing on the forthcoming Rosehill horse racing event with Enthaar. Zahra had been the regular horseman for 2-year-old Enthaar in her two Melbourne starts. These horse racing events consist of the Ballarat filly’s last start sixth at Caulfield’s Group One Blue Diamond.

Meanwhile, in the Golden Slipper 2021, Kalashnikov was able to seal a spot when he rose to 13th on the order of entry. Rough Ride and Capitalist’s son has raked in $187,000 in prize money through winning Sunday’s Group Three Black Opal Stakes at Canberra. Kalashnikov held off Solar Winds’s challenge to bag the top prize in the 1,200-metre, two-year-old event, defeating the Hawkes Racing-trained colt. 

The Paul and Peter Snowden-trained Randwick runner is looking to follow his sire Capitalist’s footsteps. Kalashnikov’s father was the Golden Slipper 2016 champion, winning for Harron and the Snowdens. At the time of writing, Kalashnikov’s prize money is $198,250, per the details from Racenet.

In 2008, Zahra recorded his first-ever major champion with galloper, Mandela. Then, in 2011, his first Group One winner was in the VRC Cantala Stakes with runner Albert The Fat. Last season, Zahra piloted 50 winning racehorses. Additionally, he has ridden 36 racing competitions’ champions so far this season. Zahra’s latest major winner is So Si Bon. They took part in the Furphy Ale March Stakes held on March 6 at Flemington. In the past years, Zahra’s most successful stable collaboration is with Robert Smerdon, followed by Peter Snowden.

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