Nishitani zero’s in on Gold Sovereign

Former jockey come trainer Yassy Nishitani celebrated the biggest win of his racing career when The Spirit of Zero scored a breathtaking last-stride win in the $150,000 Fairmont Furniture Gold Sovereign Stakes over 1200 metres in Launceston on Sunday.

In Brief

  • The Spirit of Zero takes the 2YO grand prize.
  • Nishitani rewarded for hard work and devotion.
  • Biggest win for former jockey come trainer.

The Spirit Of Zero ($17) settled worse than midfield in the field of 12 while the favourite Needs Sugar ($1.80) and Cairns ($3.40) shared the lead for the first 500 metres.

Needs Sugar gained the better of Cairns 100m from home but she could not withstand The Spirit of Zero's powerful finish, with outsider Bobble ($101) producing a career-best effort to finish fourth.

"This is fantastic because I never won a Listed race when I was a jockey and now I have one as a trainer," Nishitani said.

"After he won his maiden I was unsure if we would come to this race but the horse did so well I had no option but to enter him and I am so glad I did.

"It was a lovely ride from Ismail (Toker), and he was confident before the race.

"The bonus is I bred this horse and I have the mare at home."

Nishitani arrived in Tasmania from Japan with the hope of making it as a jockey 12 years ago and after 10 pain-staking years he turned his hand to training and his hard work and determination has finally paid dividends.

The Spirit of Zero went into the Listed event having won a maiden in Launceston and his path to the state's richest juvenile event was not traditional.

Toker was full of praise for both horse and trainer.

"When he won his maiden I told Yassy to think about coming to this race if he pulled up well because he was very strong winning his maiden," Toker said.

"There is nobody who works harder than Yassy (Nishitani) in Tasmania and he deserves all the good fortune that comes his way."

Racing and Sports