The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Annabel Neasham’s star miler, Zaaki, has been scratched from the George Main Stakes 2022 field today in Sydney.
The last start Tramway Stakes winning gelding was officially withdrawn from the Group 1 $1 million George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Friday afternoon.
Neasham has confirmed plans to continue his spring preparation in Melbourne with a next-up run in the Group 1 $1 million Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Ladbrokes Park Hillside in Sandown on Sunday September 25.
There he will be defending his Underwood Stakes title following a two length win over just four rivals as the odds-on favourite last season.
Northerly (2001, 2002) was the last back-to-back Underwood Stakes winner.
From there Zaaki is likely to follow a similar preparation as 2021 as he heads towards the Group 1 $5 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22.
Zaaki was pre-race favourite for last year’s Cox Plate, but was unfortunately scratched the morning of the weight-for-age classic with an elevated temperature.
The move to keep Zaaki out of the George Main came after the stable decided an extra week between runs would be of benefit following his Heavy-track win in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) first-up on September 3.
“Zaaki will wait a week and line up in the Group 1 Underwood at Sandown, with the team feeling he will benefit from an extra week after having a heavy track first up,” Neasham said in a statement.
“We have made the call today to ensure he can gallop in the morning in preparation for next weekend.”
With Zaaki out, George Main Stakes betting odds at Ladbrokes.com.au have firmed on James Cummings’ gun galloper Anamoe.
The Godolphin-raced four-year-old comes off an impressive Group 1 Winx Stakes (1400m) win, and he is now into odds-on territory at $1.60 to post another elite level success.
Cummings is brimming with confidence ahead of the George Main believing Anamoe is fitter second-up and ready to fire.
“I’ve taken my time with him, he hasn’t run for a month, but he’s a wonderful, natural athlete who’ll appreciate the gap between his first and second-up runs,” Cummings told News Corp.
“He enjoyed the seven (furlongs, 1400m) first-up so stepping to a mile is ideal.”
The only other single-figure fancy remaining in the mix is the Chris Waller-trained Fangirl ($6.50) who comes off a second in the Winx Stakes.
Waller has prepared eight of the past 10 George Main Stakes winners, and his most recent success came last year with subsequent Melbourne Cup champion Verry Elleegant.
The George Main Stakes 2022 jumps at 3:15pm (AEST) as Randwick Race 7.
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