Huetor has capped a remarkable comeback from a life-threatening injury to land back-to-back wins in the Group 1 Doomben Cup as odds-on favourite Zaaki was beaten out of a place.
The gelding suffered a serious eye injury last year that not only ruled him out of the spring but had his career and life at the crossroads.
Trainers Peter and Paul Snowden nursed him back to health, patiently plotting a course to get Huetor’s fitness and confidence back and the six-year-old rewarded them with Saturday’s success.
The writing was on the wall with Huetor’s closing second in the Hollindale Stakes (1800m) last start and Paul Snowden said he was confident when he saw the horse travelling sweetly in the run.
“When he was bottled up between runners about the 600, 700 I knew he had a fair bit to offer,” Snowden said.
“He’s got a really good 300-metre finish on him and he used himself really well late.
“I honestly think he’s only coming good.”
Huetor will press on to the Q22, a race he finished unplaced in last year, however, Snowden believes it will be a different scenario this time around as the horse still has upside.
“Last season it got the better of him after the Doomben Cup in the Q22, but I think this could be right up his alley in a couple of weeks,” Snowden said.
“He’s pretty special to us because he is the first horse we bought of our overseas horses that we’ve dabbled in.
“He’s a dual Group One winner and it gives us good confidence that we’re buying the right horses to bring over.”
Chasing his second Doomben Cup after claiming the race in 2021, Zaaki made the running but came off the bridle before the corner and was quickly overhauled in the straight.
Huetor ($10) finished strongest down the outside for Ryan Maloney to score by a neck over Numerian ($9.50), who was brave in defeat after working early to find a spot, with three-year-old Kovalika ($13) an encouraging third at his first weight-for-age test.
“It couldn’t have panned out any better,” Maloney said.
“The opportunities just kept presenting to my outside and I’d had that cushy run so I thought, ‘I’ve done my job, you do the rest’ and he did exactly that.”
James Mcdonald said Zaaki travelled well throughout the race but struggled when the pressure came on.
“He found the front which was an ideal position for him and travelled beautifully throughout but didn’t respond like Zaaki (can) around the bend,” McDonald said.
“He wasn’t 100 per cent late in the piece.”
– RAS NewsWire