Annabel Neasham says she will have no hesitation handing the keys to Jamie Kah on her first day back riding when she partners Zaaki in Saturday’s Group 1 Winx Stakes.
Kah, who hasn’t ridden since a race fall in March, has four rides booked at Randwick before her fifth time in the saddle aboard superstar Zaaki, who she travelled to Sydney to trial last week.
“We asked Jamie if she come back and ride and she was over the moon and so happy to be back on him,” Neasham said.
“He is a funny horse, he got her off on the way to the gates in the Mackinnon and she landed on her feet, gave him a kiss on the nose, before getting back on.
“So she knows what he’s like.”
Not only is Neasham grateful to have the partnership back together that claimed the All-Star Mile and Champions Stakes, but for the greater good of the industry.
“We have missed her, she is such a talent,” Neasham said of Kah.
“It was so frightened when she had that fall and it’s been a long road for her to come back.
“I think the sport needs her.”
As for Zaaki, despite this month entering his nine-year-old season, Neasham is a bullish as ever and punters tend to agree, having installed him a $4.60 favourite this weekend.
“I think he’s come up as well as we’ve ever had him,” Neasham stated.
“We didn’t have the horses we wanted in the beginning of the autumn for whatever reason.
“He is as good this year as he has been this time last year and this time two years ago, I can’t really fault him, he is showing no signs of age.
“It’s a good field … often it’s a small field of stayers resuming but there is a bit of mixture in there.
“There is a lot of up-and-coming horses and I think it’s exciting and it probably shows the depth of horses we are going to have in these weight-for-age races throughout the spring.”
Despite having had just one trial heading into the 1400-metre first-up assignment, Neasham holds no fitness fears as she works on plotting another spring assault with the $10 million earner.
“The King Charles is a $5 million mile race is hard to pass up so that will definitely be in the plan,” she said.
“The Cox Plate and the Mackinnon … he was a bit disappointing in the Doomben Cup (at 2000 metres) so maybe if we kept him fresher, but I am sure if he is going well the Cox Plate will be too tempting not to go to.
“I am also mindful he is older and he does go well fresh.
“I don’t know where we go between the Winx and the King Charles or if we go to Melbourne for a race or stay in Sydney, I am not sure yet.”
Neasham will saddle up two runners in Saturday’s Winx Stakes, with Mo’unga a $13 chance but she is bullish about his prospects this campaign.
“Mo’unga is flying, he won his trial the other day and he’s never won one or looked close to winning one, so hopefully that’s a good sign,” she said.
“He has been working very well and obviously he is a six-year-old entire, but he really does look magnificent.
“After a number of seconds the last year he really deserves another couple of Group 1s and I can’t see why he can’t do that this prep.”