The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Evergreen nine-year-old Zaaki is tipped to return to winning form when he heads west for the first time making his Perth race debut in the 2023 Northerly Stakes.
Elite level racing comes to a close for another calendar year down under on Saturday with the Group 1 $1.5 million Northerly Stakes (1800m) featuring a crack 16-horse field.
Sitting top of the Northerly Stakes betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au is the Annabel Neasham-trained veteran Zaaki at $2.60.
James McDonald has the ride on the top elect from gate 10.
Zaaki is fit fifth-up on the weekend looking for his first win since the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Sunshine Coast back in May.
He has been in typically solid form this spring including his last start fourth to Atishu in the Group 1 Champions Stakes (2000m) when two lengths beaten at Flemington on November 11 when unsuccessful in his bid at a third straight win in that event.
The gun import rates highly for the Northerly Stakes and is looking to go back-to-back for the punters following the win by Amelia’s Jewel ($2.90 in 2022) last summer.
Despite the size and class of the Northerly Stakes field just two other runners are currently under double-figures for the win including the Grant & Alana Williams-trained Alsephina at $7.
Co-trainer Grant Williams chases his fifth win in the event that was formally known as the Kingston Town Classic and his fourth in partnership with daughter Alana.
The duo has prepared three of the past five winners going back to 2018.
The ‘Wizard of the West’, William Pike, is on the top local hope this year with Star Turn mare Alsephina drawn a treat in barrier six.
The classy five-year-old has a great Ascot track record (9:6-3-0) and is proven at the 1800m distance.
Her latest three runs have seen her run second on each occasion in the Group 3 Asian Beau Stakes (1400m), Group 3 RJ Peters Stakes (1500m), and Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m).
She was only a length off the Railway Stakes winner Bustler a fortnight back and looks a genuine chance to turn the tables over a furlong further on Saturday.
Team Williams also saddle-up Casino Seventeen from the outside barrier (16) with Shaun McGruddy on the consistent six-year-old who is at $35 to win on the back of a lead-up second in the Listed AJ Scahill Stakes (2100m).
Bustler meanwhile pays $9.50 to become just the fifth horse in history to complete the Railway Stakes – Northerly Stakes double.
The Neville Parnham-trained four-year-old is a progressive son of dual Kingston Town Classic champion Playing God (2010-11).
Bustler is a five-time winner at the course from 11 starts and is up to 58.5kg at weight-for-age after carrying just 53kg to victory in the Railway.
Parnham also saddles-up the talented Zipaway ($12) from barrier 14.
Another Playing God progeny, the three-year-old has won three of his past four starts and was last seen stepping up in grade here on November 25 to take out the Group 2 WA Guineas (1600m).
Since Playing God won his first in 2010 a subsequent five three-year-olds have won the race including the filly Amelia’s Jewel last summer.
Along with Zipaway the other three-year-old in on 52kg taking on the older horses in the race this year is Trevor Andrews’ WA Guineas runner-up A Lot Of Good Men ($11) in gate eight with Chris Parnham riding.
2023 Northerly Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
|TRIX OF THE TRADE
|Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott
|DOM TO SHOOT
|Sean & Jake Casey
|FORGOT YOU (NZ)
|Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young
|Grant & Alana Williams
|Ms Holly Watson
|Grant & Alana Williams
|THE VELVET QUEEN
|A LOT OF GOOD MEN
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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