Annabel Neasham weighs up options for Zaaki

Annabel Neasham is keeping plans fluid for her star galloper Zaaki, accepting for races in two states this weekend while also entertaining the notion of saving him for a first-up tilt at the All-Star Mile.

Zaaki had been set to resume in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick on Saturday but with the track expected to be heavily rain-affected in Sydney, Neasham confirmed he could divert to the Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on the same day.

“He did win the Tramway on a rain-affected track, but I would probably be reluctant to run him if it was really heavy, just with it being his first run this preparation,” Neasham said on Sky Sports Radio.

“When I bought him, they were adamant he didn’t like really wet tracks. Whether that is the case now he is in a different climate and environment, I don’t know.

“We will just watch and wait with him. We have a little bit of time to decide.

“Flemington is obviously an option there as well, and also another option would be to go first-up into the All-Star Mile (at Flemington on March 19) and bypass this weekend altogether.”

Regular rider James Mcdonald will partner Zaaki if he runs in Sydney, where he has drawn the inside gate in the field of 10.

Lost And Running was a notable absentee when the final field was declared for the Canterbury Stakes, while connections of Count De Rupee and Alligator Blood also failed to pay up.

Jamie Kah has been booked to ride Zaaki at Flemington where he has also drawn the rails.

Neasham will still be represented in the Canterbury Stakes by Laws Of Indices, who is a Group 1 winner on a soft track in France, while her two-year-old Mumbai Jewel holds entries for the Reisling Stakes (1200m) at Randwick and a 1000m Listed race at Flemington.

The filly was ranked 25th in the latest Golden Slipper order of entry released this week and Neasham said she needed to race and bank some more prizemoney to boost her chances of a start.

“The Reisling does look a really nice race for her but as a back-up option, there is a race down at Flemington as well because she does need to run somewhere this weekend,” Neasham said.

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