Tim Clark isn’t conceding the Doomben Cup to short-priced favourite Zaaki and says Zeyrek can turn the tables on his last-start conqueror from an ideal draw.
The Team Hawkes gelding finished just a half-length behind Zaaki and Huetor in the Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at what was his first start in almost a month.
With natural improvement and drawn to get a cosy run behind the speed from gate two, Clark believes Zeyrek has the wares to cause a minor upset.
“The draw will definitely help him,” Clark said.
“This is his first real prep where he has tasted weight-for-age racing and he’s putting his hand up to say he’s capable of competing at this level.
“Zaaki, I’ve got plenty of respect for him, but from a good draw and doing no work, Zeyrek has got a really good turn of foot and if he can utilise that on Saturday, he’s definitely got a winning chance.”
After failing to come up in the spring, Zeyrek has bounced back with a string of strong performances this campaign.
A surprise first-up winner at Rosehill in February, he was runner-up to Protagonist in the Sky High Stakes (2000m) before sweeping home to capture the Neville Sellwood Stakes (2000m) during the Sydney autumn carnival.
The Hawkes team tested the waters in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) and Zeyrek was far from disgraced, finishing midfield behind Dubai Honour when Clark said the six-year-old had genuine excuses.
“His only little blip was in the Queen Elizabeth but he drew wide and had to go right back in a race that was steadily run and in conditions he didn’t love,” Clark said.
“He bounced back in the Hollindale and ran super and he has drawn a nice gate again on Saturday, which is crucial to his chances.”
Clark, who rode a double at Doomben last weekend, has mounts in eight of the nine races on Saturday including the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained pair of two-year-old Zia in the Listed Bill Carter Stakes (1200m) and French import Osmose in the Group 3 Pam O’Neill Stakes (1600m).
Zia won her only start at Canterbury with Brett Prebble in the saddle and while she has a tough ask from barrier 13, Clark is keeping the faith.
“She got a few favours at her first start in a race with the draw, but she’s a filly with nice talent,” he said.
“She’s drawn a little bit awkwardly on Saturday but Gai and Adrian’s two-year-olds are firing and have been all season and she’ll give a good account of herself.
“She has travelled up in good order according to Gai and Adrian and she’s ready to go.”
– RAS NewsWire