Annabel Neasham has today confirmed that Zaaki will return to Queensland in the coming weeks in defence of his Hollindale Stakes (1800m) and Doomben Cup (2000m) victories.
The star import has stamped himself as one of Australia’s best horses, with an emphatic All Star Mile (1600m) next to his name, as well as a heart-breaking second in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on Day 2 of The Championships at Royal Randwick.
The seven-year-old is unbeaten in Queensland thanks to three dominant wins from as many starts in the Sunshine State 12 months ago, so connections will look to build on that record this time around.
“A decision has been made with connections that Zaaki will remain here and head to the Hollindale,” Neasham tweeted.
“Doomben Cup with @mcacajamez (James McDonald) booked to ride. Royal Ascot could well be on the cards next year.”
With only three runs under his belt this time around, Neasham hinted earlier in the month that another Queensland mission could be on the cards, so his addition to the Queensland Winter Carnival ranks is a welcome sight.
Zaaki was dominant in the Hollindale Stakes at the Gold Coast 12 months ago, winning by 2.25 lengths, before heading to Doomben at Group 1 level and winning by seven lengths.
Since then, he has won two more Group 1 races, and almost another $6 million in prizemoney to his name, so he will certainly be the drawcard for the two race days that he is set to compete at.
In both races, he is expected to clash with the promising Ayrton, yet punters are confident that the reigning champ can get the job done again, as he firmed from $2.50 into $1.90 with online bookmakers subsequent to Neasham’s announcement.