A two-state feature race double beckons for trainer Annabel Neasham as weight-for-age star Zaaki chases a second Doomben Cup in Queensland, while former French galloper Bois D’Argent leads a three-pronged Lord Mayor’s Cup assault in Sydney.
Zaaki came up with barrier 11 at Tuesday’s draw but Neasham expected the high-class gelding to take it in his stride in his hunt for a fifth Group 1 win.
“He’s one of those horses who puts himself up on speed usually, and he’s had plenty of bad draws in his time,” Neasham told Sky Sports radio.
Stablemate Numerian will take his place in the Doomben Cup (2000m) and a competitive performance is expected as he heads towards a defence of his Q22 title.
Neasham will also have multiple runners in the Listed Lord Mayors Cup (2000m) at Rosehill after accepting with Hopeful, Bois D’Argent and Spirit Ridge.
Import Fancy Man was nominated but will be saved for the Premier’s Cup in Brisbane a week later.
Hopeful won the Lord Mayors Cup on a heavy track 12 months ago, but Bois D’Argent is considered the stable’s top seed on Saturday due to the firmer conditions and a fitness edge.
A winner at Listed level over a mile in France, Bois D’Argent goes into the race with the benefit of two lead-up runs, the most recent a third to Esti Feny in the Gosford Gold Cup (2100m) on May 6.
“He’s had the run at Gosford, he will have improved significantly out of that run fitness-wise,” Neasham said.
“Hopeful, he’s a really nice horse and won this race last year, he probably wants it a bit wetter to see him at his best and Spirit Ridge is resuming and will have a bit of improvement out the back-end of it.
“I think Bois D’Argent, of the three, is probably our best chance.”
A bumper field of 18 plus three emergencies has been paid up for the Lord Mayors Cup, although Wagga galloper Another One won’t be taking his place.
Trainer Gary Colvin said the 2022 Country Championships winner had done well since his fourth in the Wagga Gold Cup but would be saved for another day after drawing awkwardly.
– RAS NewsWire