Military Zone Continues Epaulette's Hot Run
Mark Smith - Saturday August 4

The first crop sires of 2017/18 may not have started the season with the same high expectations as some of the boom stallions of recent years however no less than eight sired stakes-winners - a total that has rarely been matched in modern times.

One of those stallions was Darley Stud's Epaulette. The striking son of Commands had a pair of Group III winners in Australia, the Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes winner Khulaasa and the B.J. McLachlan Stakes winner Beryl. He topped off a highly successful first season when Soqrat captured the Group I Premiers Champion Stakes at Greyville in South Africa.

Epaulette has continued that fine run in the first week of the new season.

The Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Military Zone came with a barnstorming finish to edge out the favourite Danawi in a benchmark 70 over 1200 metres at Randwick.

A last start winner over 1200 metres at Newcastle, Military Zone was settled back last by Kerrin McEvoy.

Sticking close to the rails he had only passed a couple when making the turn for home then had nowhere to go when running on to heels.

Switched out to find some clear air, the Triple Crown colour-bearer set out after the brave Danawi who was showing no signs of stopping.

Military Zone defeated Danawi (Exceed And Excel) by a nose with Onthetake (Krupt) a length back in third. (photos Steve Hart)

"That was a nice win," McEvoy said.

"We ended up getting a nice suck along. He showed a really nice turn of foot and is on the improve, that's for sure."

Purchased by Paul Willets for $140,000 at the Inglis Great Southern Weanling Sale, Military Zone made the same amount when Triple Crown Syndications sourced him out of the Three Bridges draft at the 2017 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale.

Bred by Two Bays Farm, Military Zone is a three-quarter brother to Happy Forever, a stakes-winner in Macau.

He is the second foal of the Street Sense (USA) mare Loading Zone who is a half-sister to the Listed Gold Coast Bracelet winner Super Lacuna (Grand Lodge) and to Randwick winner Double Ranga the dam of Group II Sweet Embrace Stakes winner Scarlett Rain (Manhattan Rain).

Loading Zone has a yearling colt by Kermadec and was covered by Manhattan Rain last spring.

After covering 95 mares at a fee of $22,000 last season, Epaulette has earned an increase to $27,500 at Darley Stud this spring.