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Australian Racing - Racing: Neasham bullish on Zaaki chances

Zaaki scored a first win at Group 1 level in last year's 2000m Doomben Cup and trainer Annabel Neesham couldn't be happier as he gets set to defend his crown.

The seven-year-old won a further two times at the elite-level as well as in the All-Star Mile (1600m), and is now available at 11/20 to successfully defend his Doomben Cup crown on Saturday.

Winning warm-up

Zaaki returned to Queensland with a workmanlike victory in the Hollindale Stakes (Gr 2, 1800m) on his last last start, but trainer Neasham is adamant the gelding is spot on and has galloped him twice leading into the contest.

"It's not something I would usually do but he is just very fresh, and I probably had him a little bit too fresh in the Hollindale," Neasham said. "JMac [jockey James McDonald] said he needed a seatbelt, and he just travelled a bit keenly as well.

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"Hopefully that has knocked the edge off him a bit. When we were up here last year he was pretty fresh but at the moment, he's probably the freshest we've ever had him.

"He's an older horse now, he's a seven-year-old gelding, so you want them like that. He is loving life and loving racing and that's probably what is keeping him going."

Going concern

Zaaki was beaten by Think It Over in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Gr 1, 2000m) on a heavy Randwick track and Neasham's only concern is another wet surface.

"A couple of the opposition are supreme wet trackers and it will be a great race," Neasham added. "He is a real fighter, a real professional and in my eyes, he is a real champion for us. He will try 110 per cent, whatever the track is."

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