France's Ziyad a 'cheeky' Canadian International contender

Woodbine Communications
October 09, 2019 08:00am
France's Ziyad a 'cheeky' Canadian International contender
Photo: Michael Burns

Ziyad, a 4-year-old son of Rock of Gibraltar, brings a rock-steady record, plenty of personality, and winning form to Saturday’s Grade 1, $800,000 Canadian International, at Woodbine.

Owned by Wertheimer et Frère, the British-bred will look to make it two straight scores when he goes postward in the 1 ½-mile turf event run over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course.

Trained by Carlos
 Laffon-Parias, Ziyad showed great gumption in galloping to a half-length triumph in the Lucien Barriere Grand Prix de Deauville (G2) on Aug. 25.


It was the first victory on the campaign for the dark bay, who also has a trio of seconds and a third from six starts in 2019. On June 30, Ziyad just missed taking the Grand Prix de Saint Cloud (G1), losing by a neck to Coronet in the 1 ½-mile event contested on ‘good/soft’ ground.


“I was pleased [the Nagano Gold team] put in a pacemaker because otherwise there was a worry that he would have to do all the work again,” noted the Wertheimers' racing manager Pierre-Yves Bureau after the Deauville performance. “On the line of his run in the Grand Prix de Paris, we were expecting a good run and so we're very happy.” 


With 13 top-three efforts in 16 lifetime races, Ziyad has displayed a competitive edge – with the exception of a 10th and 11th-place finish – throughout his career.


Ziyad’s also shown a penchant for giving his riders a rough and tumble experience.


“He’s a very delicate horse,” said traveling assistant Stephane Duprey. He throws his riders around. When he’s in good form, he’s terrible.”


Showcasing a 2-4-1 record from nine stakes appearances, Ziyad will certainly garner his fair share of support on the tote board for Saturday’s International.


He’ll also look to deliver his connections another double. Last year, Ziyad won an allowance race at Nantes in July, and then one month later, he was back in the winner’s circle via a victory at Deauville in the Michel Houyvet Listed Stakes.


The gelding will have the services of Maxime Guyon for the International. The native of France has 1,878 career wins.


Guyon, aboard for the Houyvet victory and Saint Cloud runner-up finish, will no doubt have his hands full this weekend.


“Ziyad’s cheeky, but not nasty,” said Duprey.


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