Zaaki proves a class above in strong Hollindale Stakes victory

Zaaki packed plenty late to run away with a third straight Hollindale Stakes. Photo: Racing Queensland

All eyes were on the Annabel Neasham-trained Zaaki in the Group 2 A.D. Hollindale Stakes, as the eight-year-old gelding was aiming to bring up his third straight victory in the race, and that is exactly what he did.

James McDonald had to make up his mind rather quickly on the odds-on favourite with online bookmakers, as he had to jump from barrier eight of 10, and he chose to push forward and although he was caught wide for the first 300m, McDonald didn’t panic, and he eventually settled outside the leader.

Once the son of Leroidesanimaux found his position and settled outside of Kolding, he was able to get a bit of a breather and then when McDonald pushed the button, he went into overdrive and kicked clear with 300m to go.

Even though Zaaki won by just under a length, the race went anything but to script, however, the four-time Group 1 winner had too much class for his rivals and proved that with his impressive win in the A.D. Hollindale Stakes.

2023 A.D. Hollindale Stakes Replay – Zaaki

Annabel Neasham was quick to point out that James McDonald was the best jockey in the world, and that is the reason she loves to have him riding her horses, especially her best horse in Zaaki.

“He’s the best jockey in Australia in my eyes and most people’s eyes, partly because he’s able to get himself out of difficult spots,” Neasham said of McDonald.

“Zaaki’s been lucky in that he doesn’t often get in trouble in his races, he had to do a bit of work, but a nice tough run should have him in peak condition for the Doomben Cup in a fortnight.

“He’s been a pin-up horse for me. He’s taken us to places we never thought possible, especially so early in my career.

“He was the first tried horse that I ever bought, and what he’s done for the stable is just unbelievable.

“The owners are an amazing group, a lot of them are here today and we’ve had such fun with them on the journey.”

James McDonald hasn’t had the biggest of days at the Sunshine Coast, but he made sure that he got it right on his biggest ride of the day.

“I felt like bullets were being fired everywhere around me during the start of the race,” McDonald said.

“Fortunately it worked out OK in the end, mainly because he’s a superior racehorse.

“There wasn’t any point in the race that I thought things were going to plan, but he got me out of trouble.”

Zaaki is now the $1.90 favourite with online betting sites in the Doomben Cup futures market.

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