Jeff Penza aboard Best as Zariz at Thoroughbred Park in October. The horse was destroyed at Gundagai on Friday. Photo: Jay Cronan
WHILE the Canberra racing community was celebrating a Snake Gully Cup trifecta, John Nisbet was having a terrible day at the Gundagai carnival on Friday.
Best As Zariz broke down in the feature race and the four-year-old gelding's fetlock was so badly injured he had to be destroyed.
As fellow Canberra trainer Matthew Dale and his connections were celebrating Lebrechaun's win, as well as Happy Finish's third placing, Nisbet was saying goodbye to a friend.
Not only was Best As Zariz one of the Nisbet stable's top performers, the trainer said he loved working with him. ''He broke down unfortunately, I don't really know [what happened],'' he said. ''[Jockey] Richard Bensley said he was travelling really well and then he just did his fetlock.
''Unfortunately he had to be destroyed. It was terrible. It was a bad day, he was a beautiful horse.
''He's been a good horse since his first run in a race.
''He's never put in a bad run, he's a beautiful-tempered horse, it's a shame … it can't get much worse.''
Best As Zariz had been racing well this preparation, winning twice at Canberra's Thoroughbred Park and placing once, as well as saluting at Bathurst.
Nisbet even took the son of Zariz to Rosehill where he finished less than two lengths behind winner Our Hand Of Faith in a benchmark 75 handicap (1500 metres).
He looked to be in peak form for the cup.
Nisbet hopes for better news at Thoroughbred Park on Sunday.
He has two runners, Fair Expectation and Party Policy, with Nisbet rating the latter as his best shot.
Party Policy will jump in the maiden plate (1300 metres) in his third start, while Fair Expectation is in the class 3 handicap (1000 metres).
Nisbet thought Party Policy's fourth to Danzabella last start showed some promise and he was hopeful the son of Bureaucracy could break his maiden status.
''I thought Fair Expectation, he ran last first-up, he had a very hard run, but his work's been all right,'' he said.
''But out of the two of them I'd say Party Policy is the best of them.
''His run the other day [at Canberra] was really good and he hit the line really well.''