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Zammits growing in confidence as Jay Is Jay now targets Melbourne Cup

13 November 2023

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Jay Is Jay
Icy Eyes

By Pat McLeod

Jay Is Jay may not be the ‘Topgun’ in Melbourne just yet, but there is a growing confidence in the Selena and Mick Zammit camp that their sharp-shooter can soon take up that mantle.

The Zammits were rapt in their dog’s ‘sensational’ second in Saturday night’s Group 1 Topgun Final over 525 metres at The Meadows.

And now, the Zammits have their sights set firmly on the Group 1 Melbourne Cup at Sandown Park with heats on November 25 before the Final on December 2.

Exiting from box eight, Jay Is Jay put together a superb performance to finish runner-up on Saturday, sandwiched by Jason Thompson’s Transponder (first in 29.70 seconds) and Alpha Zulu (third).

“That run by Jay Is Jay exceeded our expectations,” Mick Zammit said. 

“The run was full of merit, to do what he did from box eight. Selena and I were very happy.”

However, in an ominous warning ahead of the Melbourne Cup heats, Mick has no doubts the dog will improve on that run.

“He didn’t jump well on Saturday night,” Mick said of Jay Is Jay’s exit from the outside alley in the Topgun.

Jay Is Jay and the Zammits after breaking the Albion Park track record.

“That was also the case when he trialled on the track before the Topgun. Each track you go to the starts are different. Sometimes that is an issue, sometimes it isn’t.

“But, I have no doubt his start will improve when we head to Sandown and the Melbourne Cup. I know what the problem is around his starts and am confident he can overcome that.

“We are aiming to have a couple of trials at Sandown. Jay Is Jay has pulled up enormous after the Topgun. He was in great condition for that race.

“Selena and I were extremely happy with his run, but I know he can go better. I am confident that he can go around the 29 second mark at Sandown.”

Mick believes Jay Is Jay could not have achieved much more in his run into the $650,000-to-the-winner Melbourne Cup.

“He has proven that he is a fast dog with his track record run at Albion (29.35 seconds at Albion Park over the 520 metres) and he has been consistently fast there,” Mick said.

Valpolicella after a recent Brisbane win.

“He was the quickest of all the qualifiers at Wentworth Park for the Million Dollar Chase.

“In his win in the MDC and his second place in the Topgun, in my opinion, he has performed extremely well against the best in the country. You can’t ask for more than that.”

In another boost for the Zammit camp, their very promising stayer, Icy Eyes, won at her first look at Sandown last Thursday night over 715 metres and is all set to campaign in the Group 1 Bold Trease.

The Bold Trease is run in conjunction with the Melbourne Cup with heats on November 25 before a Final on December 2. 

“For her first look at the track, she exceeded what we thought she would do,” Selena said. 

“We are very, very happy with her and are excited about what she might be able to do in the Bold Trease.”

Meanwhile, Tony Zammit’s Valpolicella finished a game fifth in the Topgun Stayers over 730 metres on Saturday night and will also stay on in Melbourne with Tony’s brother Mick, for a Bold Trease campaign.

“I thought Valpolicella’s run in the Topgun wasn’t too bad,” Tony said.

Tony handled the dog before flying back to Brisbane on Sunday morning.

“The aim is now for a trial at Sandown, hopefully this Friday, and then she will go on to the Bold Trease heats," Tony said. 

Promising stayer Icy Eyes.