A determined horse has dished out a lesson in why you never give up - even if you are a country mile behind the leaders.
He may have been the favourite at Riccarton on Saturday, but even Son Of Zac's co-trainer had given up on winning as his horse took favourite punters on a ride they will never forget.
Son Of Zac walked out of the gates to settle near last, was 30 lengths behind the leader with 800m to run and was still last, in a seemingly hopeless position with 500m to run.
By mid-race, Kevin Hughes had given up all hope of Son Of Zac winning on Saturday.
But he stormed down the outside rail to win by one and a half lengths.
Kevin Hughes, who trains in partnership with his wife Pam, was confident the $3.20 favourite would win before the race, but gave up on that idea with more than 500m of the 1800m journey to run in the rating 65 race.
To be fair to Hughes, even the most optimistic of punters could have been excused for throwing away their tickets as runaway leader Missteeflying shot out to a massive lead and Son of Zac was at the rear of the chasing pack.
"I didn't think he could win from there, not a chance," Hughes said.
"It was a crazy run race and the leader came back to them but it was still an extraordinary performance."
The run was not dissimilar to Son Of Zac's maiden win over 1600m when he started slow and spent most of the race in the last three before coming down the outside to win by more than six lengths.
"He did it last time but that was in a maiden race, I wasn't expecting him to do it again," Hughes said.
Jockey Courtney Barnes, who was also on board for the maiden win, never panicked and Son Of Zac backed up her confidence with a determined run down the outside rail.
"It's a long straight, thank goodness, but halfway down he just took off and he got there easily in the finish," Hughes said.
"He made it difficult for himself but he's a serious horse."
The Hughes' race Son Of Zac with his co-breeder Helen Ferguson and have always thought a lot of him.
"The funniest thing about him is after the race he walked away like nothing had happened.
"He's very relaxed and nothing ever fazes him," Hughes said.
Ferguson and the Hughes' have a full brother to Son Of Zac currently in work and the two-year-old is already showing potential.
The next move for Son Of Zac is yet to be decided but the Hughes' are considering a possible tilt at the $100,000 Canterbury Gold Cup over 2000m at weight-for-age level at Riccarton on April 22.
"He'll get the distance no problem and if he's got no weight on his back it might not be a silly idea."
Son Of Zac's time of 1:51.95 was quicker than Saint Kitt's winning effort of 1:52.56 in the open handicap over the same distance.
Hughes believes the best will not be seen from the Zacinto gelding until his four-year-old season.
"He's still pretty light, there's nothing much of him."
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