Rob Heathcote’s special little filly Startantes...
After being twice rescheduled, finally punters in Brisbane get to see Zaaki in action with the defending champion odds-on favourite to win the new-look 2022 Doomben Cup at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Heavy rainfall and unsafe racing conditions saw last Saturday’s Doomben Cup Day meeting called off and originally rescheduled for Doomben on Wednesday.
With the inclement weather continuing, the midweek meet was cancelled and the three key races on the card including the Group 1 $1 million Doomben Cup added to a monster Queensland Derby Day card at Eagle Farm.
It’s a new track and a new distance with the Doomben Cup now to run over 2100m, but markets on the 10-horse field remain led the Annabel Neasham-trained Zaaki.
Last year’s seven-length champion comes via the same lead-up win as 12 months ago having taken out the Group 2 A.D. Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast on May 7.
After completing the Hollindale – Doomben Cup double last winter, Zaaki went on to salute for the punters in the Group 2 $1.2 million The Q22 (2200m) at Eagle Farm.
Proven at the track, the evergreen seven-year-old now jumps from the outside alley with a confident James McDonald aboard.
Zaaki gets a more suitable racing surface with Eagle Farm currently rated a Soft (6), and his Doomben Cup odds are firming accordingly.
“This track will suit him perfectly,” McDonald told Sky Racing after riding Zaaki in an Eagle Farm gallop on Tuesday morning.
“Annabel has brought him here three times now. He is very familiar with it, and it was great to get him back on it today. It is obviously a nice, safe surface and he had an extremely good morning.
“I was very with happy with him. He wasn’t out to do a hell of a lot. He just cruised through his paces over 1000m … came home in 24.5 or 25.
“He felt terrific, and he has pulled up extremely well, so he is ticking along beautifully.”
Zaaki is into $1.40 in the latest Doomben Cup betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au with only the Chris Waller-trained mare Polly Grey ($9.50) also at single-figures.
She jumps from gate seven with Tim Clark in the saddle, the in-form daughter of Azamour last seen running three-quarters of a length second to Zaaki in the Hollindale.
Polly Grey was excellent the run before in the Group 3 JRA Plate (2000m) winning by over three lengths, but would present as a bigger danger on a really wet track.
Waller also saddles-up Hollindale third place-getter Kukeracha ($15), last start Group 3 Chairman’s Handicap winner at Eagle Farm Yonkers ($31) and Gosford Cup runner-up Great House ($34) in this year’s Doomben Cup field.
The other notable chances chasing a boilover include the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Huetor ($12) in gate two with Kerrin McEvoy riding and Group 1 winning New Zealand mare Coventina Bay ($15) coming off a fifth in the Hollindale.
2022 Doomben Cup Final Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||x1131x2121||ZAAKI (GB)||Annabel Neasham||James McDonald||10||59kg||119|
|2||4205×13330||THE CHOSEN ONE (NZ)||Andrew Forsman||Opie Bosson||3||59kg||110|
|3||x28057x613||KUKERACHA (NZ)||Chris Waller||James Orman||5||59kg||105|
|4||1682×52661||YONKERS (USA)||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||1||59kg||105|
|5||15510×4382||GREAT HOUSE (IRE)||Chris Waller||William Pike||9||59kg||104|
|6||019x111x34||HUETOR (FR)||Peter & Paul Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||2||59kg||96|
|7||2242x6x00x||MAXIMAL (GB)||John O’Shea||Nash Rawiller||6||59kg||95|
|8||1x42x7x956||ESTI FENY (HUN)||Matthew Smith||Ryan Maloney||8||59kg||92|
|9||x013x20212||POLLY GREY (NZ)||Chris Waller||Tim Clark||7||57kg||110|
|10||09×1221125||COVENTINA BAY (NZ)||Robbie Patterson||Ms Samantha Collett||4||57kg||108|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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