Punt Drunk: Zaaki flops as Anamoe flies at Caulfield

To steal a line from Eddie McGuire, what a big weekend it’s been in racing! We take a look at Zaaki’s failure to meet expectations in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes, Damien Oliver’s win on Anamoe in the Caulfield Guineas, and an intriguing story on Jake Noonan’s Sunday afternoon travels.

Zaaki fails to fire in Caulfield Stakes

Zaaki was nowhere to be seen in the finish of the Caulfield Stakes. (Racing Photos)

The Group 1 Caulfield Stakes was supposed to be a walk in the park for the Annabel Neasham-trained Zaaki, with the Cox Plate favourite sent around as a $1.26 favourite following his Underwood Stakes win. However, it was anything but a formality for Zaaki, and there were plenty of questions about Craig Williams’ tactics aboard the superstar galloper. Zaaki was clearly unsettled behind a slow speed, but Willow opted to keep him tucked behind Homesman in the moving line, and to be frank, it was all over from that point. When entering the home turn, eventual winner Probabeel was just two lengths off Zaaki and Homesman, whilst Nonconformist was making his run at a crucial time, with Zaaki under serious pressure.

The story will always be about how Zaaki failed, but all credit needs to be directed towards the Jamie Richards-trained Probabeel and jockey Brett Prebble. With the race favourite under more pressure than Daniel Andrews, Prebble took a run along the rails and went stride-for-stride with Nonconformist over the final 100m, with the Kiwi mare getting the bob in on the line. It handed Prebble a fourth Group 1 win of the spring already, whilst Probabeel notched her fourth career victory at the top level.

It leaves the Cox Plate on October 23 perfectly poised, with Zaaki ($2.90) leading the market ahead of Anamoe ($5.50) and Verry Elleegant ($8).

Anamoe stamps credentials in Caulfield Guineas

Our love affair with Anamoe is starting to become concerning. (Racing Photos)

Punt Drunk mentioning just how good Anamoe is should be a drinking game at this point, because what an animal he is! The Goldolphin star staked his claim as the best three-year-old of the season when taking out Saturday’s Caulfield Guineas while beating home Captivant and his arch-rival, Artorius. The win handed Damien Oliver his 126th Group 1 title and his first success in the Guineas in 31 years.

We can ramble on about how good the win was – trust us, it was unbelievably good – but it is what’s next that has us raring to go. Anamoe is set to go around with a feather on his back in the Cox Plate in two weeks’ time. The field for this year’s Moonee Valley feature is set to be one of the best in recent years, albeit without Winx. We’ll have Zaaki, Verry Elleegant, Probabeel, Anamoe and last year’s winner, Sir Dragonet. Throw in the unknown around international runner Gold Trip and potentially Incentivise backing up from the Caulfield Cup, and it looks a cracking race.

Interesting Sunday arvo for Noonan

Jake Noonan is far from a household name – despite being a Group 1 winner – and the son of trainer Tony Noonan had one hell of a Sunday afternoon. Noonan had one ride at Donald aboard Come Along Jeffrey, who finished second, beaten 2.75 lengths to Mask Up. On his way back home, Noonan popped into Ballarat to ride Hickok for his old man in the final race of the day.

The 171km drive from Donald to Ballarat was justified when the father-and-son combination walked away winners of the BM70 affair. While Noonan managed to ride at two tracks and claimed a win, we ordered a HSP and backed Flying Mascot, who finished second behind Hickok. Contrasting Sundays, eh?

Monday Racing Tips – October 11, 2021

Punt Drunk

About Punt Drunk

Welcome to Punt Drunk! Our new daily column covering all the latest horse racing and punting controversies, dramas and headline news. Have a story or gripe or issue that just grinds your gears? Just hit us up in the comments or contact us page and our jaded, punt hardened Punt Drunk staff will give it the Punt Drunk treatment it deserves. Don’t expect pleasantries or typical racing media fanboy gloss from Punt Drunk – we’re on the punt and we don’t have time to bullshit; the next is about to jump…

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