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MONEY COMES FOR ZAAKI IN DOOMBEN CUP TILT

Wed 19 May 2021

By Glenn Davis

History suggests that the money trail is spot on forimported stayer Zaaki in Saturday's Group 1 Doomben Cup.

Zaaki has been all the rage in pre-post markets for the 2000-metre Weight For Age feature, following his sensational win in the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes at the Gold Coast last month.

Since markets opened on the famous Doomben feature, Zaaki has been hammered in betting from his opening quote as big as $9 to a pronounced $3 favourite.

Trainer Annabel Neasham is not surprised by the strong support for the six-year-old former English stayer, despite drawing barrier nine in the 11-horse Cup field.

Hollindale Stakes winners have a terrific record in the Doomben Cup, with 10 wins from 29 starters.

Neasham has trained Zaaki for only three starts and believes the gelding will be better suited on firmer footing at Doomben, compared to the soft going in his Group 2 triumph at the Gold Coast.

Neasham is chasing her second Group 1 after claiming the Rosehill Guineas in March with Mo'unga.

“He’s not your usual European-type horse and is much like Australian horses,” Neasham said.

“When I bought him in England, I was told he was better on dry tracks.

“I was a little nervous before the Hollindale on a soft surface but it was a soft win and going to 2000 metres will suit him.”

Zaaki raced in a more forward position than Neasham expected last start, but she put it down to the lack of speed.

“There wasn’t a lot of speed in the Hollindale so I wasn’t surprised he raced a little closer than usual,” she said.

Trainer Chris Waller also hopes to make his mark in Doomben Cup history books with his three runners - Humidor, Shared Ambition and Toffee Tongue.

Waller will join Lee Freedman as the most successful Doomben Cup-winning trainer with four if one of his trio is successful.

Waller’s stable foreman Brett Killion rates Shared Ambition as the stable’s best hope following the gelding’s game third behind Zaaki in the Hollindale.

“Shared Ambition is probably our best hope on his Hollindale run,” Killion said.

“He wasn’t at his best on a soft surface that day and will go better with Doomben a lot firmer.”