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Extra Zero kicks off campaign at Sandown

It may only be the first month of summer but already the jumps season is the focus for Extra Zero.

The Lindsay Park-trained veteran begins his build-up to an autumn jumps campaign on the flat at Sandown on Saturday in the fourth heat of the Swettenham Stud Summer Championship.

Co-trainer Ben Hayes said Extra Zero was being aimed at the Oakbank carnival at Easter.

The 10-year-old has been working well for his return run and Hayes will not be surprised if the gelding produces a good first-up performance.

Runner-up in the 2015 Australian Cup as an eight-year-old, Extra Zero was switched to jumping last year but was thwarted by wet tracks.

And Hayes said Extra Zero found some of those hurdle races a fraction too far.

“We’re going to target the early jumps races with him,” Hayes said.

“The races are a bit shorter and we’ll certainly be looking at the Oakbank carnival with him.

“Dad (David) loves Oakbank as did my grandfather, C S Hayes,”

Hayes said Extra Zero had done most of the preparation for his return at the stable’s country property at Euroa and was transferred to Flemington earlier in the week.

“He’s going well and still has the zest for racing,” Hayes said.

“He galloped really well on Monday morning and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ran well fresh.

“He’s got the talent but he’s just an old boy now.”

Extra Zero will be joined in Saturday’s race by Golden Mane, who is also resuming, and Sovereign Nation who is coming off a freshen-up.

“Golden Mane is going really well and looks like he’s improved but it’s a bit short of his distance but hopefully he’s hitting the line hard,” Hayes said.

“Sovereign Nation has had a freshen-up but he’s got the residual fitness.

“He was a little disappointing last start so that’s why we backed right off him and freshened him up and hopefully he produces his earlier spring form.”

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