Wet track won’t dampen Annabel Neasham’s enthusiasm

A wet track query isn’t enough to dampen Annabel Neasham’s enthusiasm over Zaaki’s impending Queen Elizabeth Stakes showdown with the best weight-for-age gallopers in the land.

The All-Star Mile winner is proven on soft ground but has never raced on a heavy track, conditions he is set to strike for the first time on Saturday with Randwick already in the heavy range and more rain forecast.

Neasham admits she isn’t sure how her stable star will cope with the extreme conditions under race-day pressure but says he has handled them in trackwork.

“I’d certainly prefer not to be going into the unknown with him on a heavy track,” Neasham said.

“He worked on the heavy track (last Tuesday) morning and seemed to get through it well.

“But you never know until you get to race day.”

The Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) has attracted Australia’s very best middle-distance horses with Zaaki to take on glamour mare Verry Elleegant, rising stars Montefilia and Duais, outstanding three-year-old Anamoe and warhorse Think It Over.

Verry Elleegant is a $3 favourite to finally land the autumn carnival feature after finishing runner-up to English star Addeybb for the past two years, while Zaaki is equal second elect with Anamoe at $4.60.

Neasham says she is privileged to have a horse good enough to be part of it and expects the race to live up to its hype.

“It’s going to be a great race, as it should be,” she said.

“It’s a very valuable race and certainly for me, it’s one of the big races that we all want to win.”

Zaaki drew gate three at Tuesday’s barrier draw, directly outside Montefilia while Verry Elleegant (seven) and Duais (nine) have both drawn out.

Anamoe has gate five in his quest to become the first three-year-old to win since Intergaze in 1997.

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