Zaaki will be shooting for his third Group 1 win in Saturday’s Might And Power Stakes at Caulfield in what will be his final lead-up run before the Cox Plate in two weeks.
Having already had one start in Melbourne, the Annabel Neasham-trained gelding should be ready to go again with Craig Williams retaining the ride for the 2000m event.
The son of Leroidesanimaux has now won five straight races, with two of those at Group 1 level and the other two coming in Group 2 races across Queensland, New South Wales and now Victoria.
The six-year-old won the Underwood Stakes by two lengths at Sandown on September 25 as a $1.18 favourite and will start close to that quote again on Saturday, with online bookmakers currently rating the Cox Plate favourite as a $1.24 chance in the Might And Power.
Zaaki will step back out to 2000m for the first time since his seven-length romp in the Doomben Cup in May, which also came on the back of an 1800m victory.
On Tuesday morning, Zaaki had a hitout at Caulfield in what was his first piece of work on the course proper at ‘The Heath’.
Who’s ready for another Group 1 weekend?
We know ZAAKI is! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/D0WU24KKcG
— Annabel Neasham Racing (@ANeashamRacing) October 7, 2021
“It was a brilliant chance to give the horse a look around Caulfield,” Neasham’s assistant trainer Todd Pollard told SEN Track.
“He sort of had a good look around at everything as he always does, even when he just works at home at Warwick Farm.
“We were more than happy with the way he went around.”
Zaaki has somewhat scared his opposition away, with only five other horses lining up in the $1 million event, similar to when Winx the race in 2016 in a field of only three runners.
Pollard is adamant that the horse has improved since his win in the Underwood and has more still to give.
“His coat has definitely come right, but it’s not 100% yet,” he said.
“The way he’s galloped the last couple of times, he’s pulled up really well.
“He’s a sound horse; he’s happy, he’s eating.
“There’s still a little bit of improvement from the coat; probably under the saddle he’s starting to dapple up a bit, which you won’t see race day when he’s got the saddle on, but two weeks later when it comes to the Cox Plate I think he’ll be looking pretty spot on.”
Zaaki is currently a $1.85 favourite for the Moonee Valley feature in a fortnight, but if he wins on Saturday like the market expects him to, he is likely to firm once again in the Cox Plate betting.