Zaaki and Mo’unga on track for Canterbury Stakes return

The adage goes that all good things take time and trainer Annabel Neasham is hoping that’s the case as she patiently prepares her stable heavyweights to take the next step towards their highly anticipated returns.

Zaaki, Mo’Unga and Top Ranked are all scheduled to step out for their second barrier trials at Warwick Farm on Monday having also had an exhibition gallop between races at their home track midweek.

Top Ranked’s return in the Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) is still two weeks away while Zaaki and Mo’unga have an extra seven days to wait for their carnival starting point in the Canterbury Stakes (1300m) on March 5.

Annabel Neasham says the trio have all come to hand quickly, hence the need to keep them ticking over, and she is chomping at the bit to get them back to the races.

“They have come up much quicker than I thought,” Neasham said.

“Zaaki could have run today (Saturday), he is airborne.

“I’m really excited about Top Ranked and if we are happy with him after the trial, he will kick off in the Chipping Norton Stakes.

“Mo’unga’s action looked beautiful on Wednesday and I feel he has come back better than ever.

“I’m a very lucky girl.”

Two of Neasham’s better two-year-olds, Lady Laguna and Man In The Mirror, are also slated to trial in separate 800m heats.

Neasham will decide on Monday if Lady Laguna takes her place but she is keen to test the filly in winkers after she suffered her first defeat at the hands of Cythera in the Lonhro Plate.

Man In The Mirror, a winner of his only start at Warwick Farm in December, is being aimed towards the Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m).

Neasham produced another contender for the better two-year-old races at Randwick on Saturday in Mumbai Jewel, who came with a sweeping run to win the opening event on Apollo Stakes day.

She will get a chance to qualify for the Golden Slipper via the Reisling Stakes (1200m) at Randwick in three weeks with Lady Laguna to stake her claims in the Sweet Embrace Stakes (1200m) on February 26.

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