Doomben Cup winner Zaaki takes aim at Q22

Queensland’s Stradbroke Handicap Day has received a massive boost with Cox Plate favourite and new racing star Zaaki set to be a crowd-pulling drawcard.

There are two Group 1s on the Eagle Farm card on June 12 – the $1.5 million Stradbroke and $1 million JJ Atkins – but they could be partially overshadowed by the imposing presence of Zaaki in a rich support race.

Annabel Neasham says her sensational seven-length Group 1 Doomben Cup winner Zaaki will race in the $1.2 million Q22, a Group 2 weight-for-age race over 2200m which was designed to help rejuvenate the winter carnival.

Should Zaaki win the Q22, connections would scoop a $720,000 winner’s cheque, which is $300,000 more than they pocketed for claiming the Group 1 Doomben Cup.

Zaaki is literally living the dream with a bit of R&R at the beach this week 🏖

Come through Sat in super order, plan is to kick on to the Q22 👑 @BrisRacingClub
Thank you @BillyHealey3 for letting him stay. pic.twitter.com/hUwjZAJC39

Bookies are expecting the June 12 race to be a one-act affair with Zaaki the raging $1.60 favourite in the Q22 in futures betting with tab.com.au

Toffee Tongue is the only other horse under double figures in betting, at $7, while Saturday’s Queensland Derby favourite Explosive Jack is rated a $13 chance.

Zaaki’s extraordinary Doomben Cup romp was not only big news in Australia, as he announced himself as a new racing star, but also in Europe where the import came from.

After his Doomben Cup cakewalk, bookies slashed Zaaki’s Cox Plate price to $5 but that has now shortened even further and he is the $3.50 favourite to give Neasham a Cox Plate in what would be her second training season.

Seven-time Group 1 winner Verry Elleegant is on the second line of Cox Plate betting at $8, with star Sydney jockey James McDonald facing an intriguing decision as to which of the top two fancies he will ride.

Meanwhile, the news was not so good for one of Zaaki’s vanquished Doomben Cup rivals.

The Kris Lees-trained Mugatoo will miss the entire spring carnival in Melbourne this year with the All-Star Mile winner suffering a tendon injury in the Doomben Cup.

Originally published asQ22 decision for winter carnival star Zaaki

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