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Meade likely to bide his time with Classic hope Zechariah

Martyn Meade is likely to put his impressive Newbury winner Zechariah away for the winter and look for a suitable Derby trial next season.

Beaten on his first two outings, Zechariah had won well at Sandown before seemingly improving again for the step up to a mile in the Haynes, Hanson & Clark Conditions Stakes.

The son of Nathaniel put a fair distance between himself and the well-regarded Westover, with another five and a half lengths back to Charlie Appleby’s King Of Conquest.

“He was really good – I thought he acquitted himself very well,” said Meade.

“I was a little concerned about the ground, but it worked out pretty well. It looked a fairly impressive win.

“On paper they looked a nice bunch. It was probably closer to a Listed race in terms of quality, but the question is what happens next.”

The answer to that appears to be a winter break.

Meade added: “I think I’m leaning towards putting him away and bringing him back as a three-year-old, because he’s still a bit on the raw side.

“Wherever we’d have to go now, it would mean putting him under great pressure, and I just think I’d like him to mature over the winter and then come back in top company at three.

“He’s had four runs already, so he has got experience and he’s shown me all I need to know.

“I just think he’d benefit more from maturing before going up in class. That is my thinking at the moment, but of course it can change. He’s a nice prospect for next year.

“I think I’ll be looking towards a Derby trial – he’s by Nathaniel, so will certainly get 10 furlongs.”

Zechariah dominates Newbury rivals

Zechariah led from pillar to post in the 41st Running Of The Haynes, Hanson & Clark Conditions Stakes at Newbury.

The one-mile contest has an illustrious history, with some greats of the Turf on its roll of honour – including Shergar, Rainbow Quest, King’s Theatre and Nayef.

This year’s renewal looked another warm one on paper, with five of the six runners having already visited the winner’s enclosure and three protecting unbeaten records.

Down the field on his first couple of starts at Yarmouth and Newmarket, the Martyn Meade-trained Zechariah opened his account at the third attempt with a smooth success at Sandown in July – and was a 9-1 shot on his first start since under Tom Marquand.

Sent straight to the lead by Marquand, the son of Nathaniel kicked a couple of lengths clear inside the final two furlongs and never looked in any real danger of being caught from there on in.

Westover was two and a quarter lengths away in second, with 5-4 favourite King Of Conquest a further five and a half lengths back in third.

Freddie Meade, assistant trainer to his father, said: “I was really pleased with that – we’ve always thought a bit of him.

“We probably got him a bit wrong early season, because we thought he could be a Jersey Stakes horse and we maybe squeezed him a little bit early, and then he wasn’t himself at Newmarket.

“Since then he’s done nothing wrong. He was really impressive at Sandown and he was impressive again today.”

Freddie Meade (right) at Doncaster
Freddie Meade (right) at Doncaster (Dan Abraham/PA)

Zechariah holds multiple big-race entries, including the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster on October 23, but is not certain to run again this season.

“We were a bit worried about the ground today because it was soft at Newmarket, but I don’t think that was the reason there, he just wasn’t himself. He coped with it today, and Tom was really impressed,” Meade added.

“He’s in the Doncaster race, but we’ll just see how he comes out of this. He’s a horse that needs to develop over the winter, and I think he’ll then benefit from that next year.

“I think that might be it for the season, but we’ll talk to everybody and work back from next year. We’ll see what that race looks like.

“He’s by Nathaniel, so we’ll be looking at some nice middle-distance races next year.”