The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
The heavily-backed favourite Zaaki was absolutely dominant in the Doomben Cup 2021 in Brisbane, Annabel Neasham‘s last start Hollindale winner annihilating a Group 1 field full of stars by seven lengths.
It was an excellent edition of the Group 1 $700,000 Channel 7 Doomben Cup (2000m) this winter, the line-up including a host of proven stars including last year’s Cox Plate hero Sir Dragonet and Jamie Richards’ 14-time Group 1 winning mare from New Zealand Melody Belle in her final race.
All the money in Doomben Cup betting however was on the British-bred six-year-old Zaaki following his big lead-up win at the Gold Coast in the Group 2 AD Hollindale Stakes (1800m).
In-form hoop James McDonald – now a 53-time Group 1 winning rider – gave the galloper another very confident ride and Zaaki did not disappoint, scoring potentially the easiest Doomben Cup victory in history.
Record breaker McDonald got the favourite into the ideal position second travelling in the slipstream of the leader Brandenburg who was setting a nice pace up front.
Approaching the turn for home, the tiering front-runner was no match as McDonald made his move going up into the lead aboard Zaaki.
From there, nothing was getting close to the runaway champion with Zaaki opening up a huge gap on the rest of the field to eventually beat home the Chris Waller-trained mare Toffee Tongue by some seven lengths.
In third to round out the trifecta was the brave pace-maker Brandenburg holding on for a minor placing at big odds.
It was a disappointing swansong run for both Melody Belle as well as dual Cox Plate placed Humidor who also had his 50th and final career start in the Doomben Cup 2021, the retiring pair running fifth and seventh respectively.
As for the brilliant Doomben Cup winner, the sky looks the limit for Zaaki who handed Neasham her second career Group 1.
“That was amazing. Wow,” Neasham told the media post-win.
“That was a brilliant ride.
“He (McDonald) was very confident.”
She is now eyeing the bigger and better races over the spring including the Group 1 Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) held at The Valley on October 23rd.
“He’s run the 2000 (metres pretty easily),” she said of the horse.
“I can’t wait for the Cox Plate.
“He looks a proper Group 1 horse.”
Next-up there could be a very lucrative option for Zaaki in the Group 2 $1.2 million The Q22 (2200m) at Eagle Farm on Stradbroke Day, June 12.
All-in The Q22 betting at Ladbrokes.com.au – available here – has Zaaki at a nearly odds-on quote of $2.
2021 Doomben Cup Results & Finishing Order
|1||5||ZAAKI (GB)||Annabel Neasham||James McDonald||9||59kg||$2.25F|
|2||12||TOFFEE TONGUE (NZ)||Chris Waller||Nash Rawiller||7L||3||57kg||$18|
|3||9||BRANDENBURG (NZ)||John Sargent||Regan Bayliss||9.25L||10||59kg||$31|
|4||11||NETTOYER||Wendy Roche||Ron Stewart||9.65L||5||57kg||$51|
|5||10||MELODY BELLE (NZ)||Jamie Richards||Opie Bosson||11.9L||8||57kg||$18|
|6||4||AVILIUS (GB)||James Cummings||Kerrin McEvoy||12L||7||59kg||$18|
|7||6||HUMIDOR (NZ)||Chris Waller||Damian Lane||12.5L||4||59kg||$26|
|8||7||SHARED AMBITION (IRE)||Chris Waller||Jim Byrne||13.25L||6||59kg||$11|
|9||1||SIR DRAGONET (IRE)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Glen Boss||17.5L||2||59kg||$4.80|
|10||2||MUGATOO (IRE)||Kris Lees||Hugh Bowman||49.5L||1||59kg||$6.50|
|8||SOUTHERN FRANCE (IRE)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Craig Williams||0|
|3||FIFTY STARS (IRE)||Tom Dabernig & Ben Hayes||Jye McNeil||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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