Superstar hoop James McDonald has never been beaten at Zaaki and this week’s Doomben Cup isn’t supposed to be the first time.
Superstar hope James McDonald likens Zaaki to a prize fighter and he is looking to take another blow in Group 1 of the Doomben Cup on Saturday, putting his undefeated record on the horse on the line.
McDonald boasts a perfect seven-of-seven record on the three-time Group 1 winner and made a flying visit to Brisbane on Tuesday morning to gallop the Annabel Neasham-trained star.
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After riding some of the Australian turf’s superstars in recent years, McDonald said Zaaki has a chance to cement his spot among the best in the country by going back-to-back in the Doomben Cup, where he took a favorite from $1.40.
“The thing about Zaaki is that he’s easy because he’s a pushbutton, he puts himself above that, he has a high cruising speed and he can hold it while absorbing pressure – he really is the ultimate horse for age,” he says. said.
“He makes life a little bit easier, he’s a joy to drive – he has his quirks of course.
“I actually don’t think I was hit on him, I remember the first time (riding him) and it was one of those feelings.
“He’s good up there. Verry Elleegant is clearly the benchmark for me, but she was always a pain, she didn’t help herself at times and she didn’t have the high cruising speed that this horse has.
“He’s like a prize fighter, when his tail is up, the game is up in a big way – let’s go, it’s business time.
“He’s the type of horse, if he was a boxer and he got hit on the head he could curl up, but he hasn’t shown that yet – he’s just a brute.”
With the race postponed a week and moved from Doomben to Eagle Farm due to the incredible rain in south east Queensland, McDonald said Zaaki will be right at home with a firmer footing after riding through the tough Gold Coast circuit in the Hollindale Stakes earlier this month. to have labored.
“Thank God (the races have been moved) because the tough track kind of brings him back to the field,” McDonald said.
“He wasn’t on the Gold Coast (at best) because it was so sticky, but this track will suit him perfectly, Annabel has brought him here three times and he’s very familiar with it.
“He was very good (on Tuesday morning), he wasn’t out much doing much and he was just flying through work over 1000m, home in 24.5 (sec) or 25 and he was pulling extremely well so he’s come along well.”
Zaaki headlines a stormy day for McDonald, who rides Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Cup favorite Paulele, along with leading Queensland Derby hopeful Caboche on the day, while also having to wait nervously to see if Coolmore’s political debate continues in the $1 can sneak into Sires’ Produce field.
Originally published as ‘He’s like a prize fighter’: James McDonald aims to keep undefeated Zaaki record intact in the Doomben Cup