The Sportsman Weekend

Neasham confident Zaaki will continue on his winning ways


BUDDING superstar Zaaki has come up a very short-priced favourite for Saturday’s Underwood Stakes at Sandown but trainer Annabel Neasham isn’t taking anything for granted.

Zaaki will face just four rivals in the 1800m Group 1 and while Neasham feels he will get the job done, she does have a couple of queries.

Firstly, the small field which is lacking a natural leader will make it very tactical race and secondly, she is mindful that his worst run in Australia came second-up the autumn.

“I would have rather a full field than a field of five,” Neasham said.

“Craig (Williams) is on fire at the moment, he rode four winners on Wednesday, so I will leave the tactics up to him.

“It’s not his Grand Final. I think he should be able to get the job done but he is still a bit wintry in the coat and this run will bring him on again get him that step closer to the Cox Plate.

“While this is the smallest field he has come across, it is probably the strongest field.

“Probabeel is a very good mare and Zaaki will have to step up again.

“His most disappoint­ing run was second-up last time in. He

two weeks between runs going from a mile to 2000 metres.

“This time, he is going 1400 metres to 1800 metres with an extra week between runs. I hoping it’s not a case of second-up syndrome.

“He’s grown in confidence and adjusted to life Down Under. He is also got that residual fitness from his winter campaign.”

Neasham sent the son of Leroidesan­imaux to Melbourne in time to have a gallop on his ‘Melbourne leg’ and the gelding worked nicely at Sandown Tuesday morning with Craig Williams aboard who filmed the workout with his helmet cam which was posted on social media.

“You could see from Craig’s footage that he had his ears pricked the whole way and the MRC kindly filmed him as well,” she said.

“He had a nice gallop at home before he went down which I why worked him on his own Sandown so didn’t overdo it.

Once thing Neasham has no concern about is the Sandown Hillside track.

“Craig said he has watched Zaaki’s replays at Epsom (in England) which is quite an undulating course with a difficult camber and he holds the track record there,” she said.

“He is a horse who can balance up quite easily and Sandown is a beautiful big course, he shouldn’t have any trouble handling the track.”

 ?? ?? Zaaki looks to have tomorrow’s Underwood Stakes at his mercy.
Zaaki looks to have tomorrow’s Underwood Stakes at his mercy.

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