Punt Drunk: Zaaki & Nature Strip stun the racing world again

The Monday edition of Punt Drunk returns after what was a weekend of racing we all needed. Despite the downpour on Friday, Moonee Valley came up a treat and Noah’s Ark was not required. The card at Randwick was full of quality, whilst in Hong Kong, David Hayes got off to an absolute flyer in the new season.

Chips-in for Zaaki in Underwood Stakes

Zaaki wins AD Hollindale Stakes

OK, hear us out. Zaaki is the best horse going around in Australia right now. Sure, his wins in Queensland were in conditions favourable to him compared to some of his rivals, and perhaps he still needs to prove he can do it in Victoria to claim that title. However, we are putting our reputation on the line and declaring the Annabel Neasham-trained freak as the best in the land. The way he destroyed his rivals in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes on Saturday at Randwick suggests he is in for one hell of a memorable campaign.

We may not need to wait too long to see him in Melbourne, with the Group 1 Underwood Stakes firmly on the agenda for the Doomben Cup winner. Then it looks like it will be a one-way ticket to the Cox Plate.

How good is that day going to be? Underwood Stakes Day this year is going to be held on AFL Grand Final Day, so Zaaki into a Norm Smith Medal/first goalscorer multi is going to be a popular choice for punters.

Nature Strip kicks off Everest campaign in style

Nature Strip
Can Nature Strip finally claim a win in The Everest? (Racing Photos)

If Zaaki was mesmerising, Nature Strip was utterly dominant as he returned with a breathtaking win in the Concorde Stakes on Saturday. The official margin back to Wild Ruler in second was 2.48 lengths, but considering James McDonald barely asked his mount for an effort, it could have been so much more.

Could this be the year the Strip wins The Everest for the first time? Having fallen flat in the last two editions, might it be third-time lucky for one of Australia’s most enigmatic horses?

At the moment, the richest sprint race on turf looks to be a two-horse race between Nature Strip and Masked Crusader, who made a winning return at Caulfield on August 28. the offices here at Punt Drunk are firmly in the corner of Nature Strip.

Nervous Witness goes bang for Hayes on Hong Kong debut

David Hayes
David Hayes was clearly impressed by Nervous Wtiness’ debut win

Debut wins do not come anymore more impressive than what Nervous Witness put in on day one of the new Hong Kong racing season. The four-year-old from David Hayes’ yard led his rivals a merry dance over 1000m and went to the line untouched as jockey Zac Purton sat like a mannequin on board.

The only issue for Purton was he may need a neck massage considering how far he needed to look back to see if any challengers were coming at the 300m mark. However, there was simply no catching the $1.35 shot at Sha Tin, and he is certainly one to follow going forward.

Monday Racing Tips – September 6, 2021

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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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