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Zaaki goes down as Huetor’s star rises

Sat 28 May 2022

By Mandy Cottell - Racing and Sports.

Star galloper Zaaki has suffered a shock defeat in his quest for back-to-back Doomben Cup titles after being upstaged by the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Huetor

The odds-on favourite appeared to have every chance after sitting outside leader Polly Grey and hitting the front in the straight, but he had no answer to the late charge of Huetor ($16), who surged along the inside to score by a long neck over the fast-finishing Maximal ($31). 

Zaaki ($1.24 fav) just held on for third, another 1-1/4 lengths away. 

James Mcdonald wasn't disappointed in the effort of Zaaki with the venue switch to Eagle Farm, and subsequent distance change from 2000m to 2100m, possibly playing a part. 

"He felt really good in the run, he just found that last little bit a bit of a pinch," McDonald said. 

It was the second Group 1 win of the winter carnival for the Snowdens, who also captured the Doomben 10,000 with Mazu, and co-conditioner Paul Snowden said Huetor's success was no surprise. 

"He has been working to a performance like this today," Paul Snowden said. 

"He takes a little bit of racing to get him there. This preparation, he's at a very high level, last prep we went through his grades and just picked them off one by one. 

"He has won about four races like this. They all leave the fence and he comes up the fence so it was very pretty to watch." 

Kerrin Mcevoy has been a key factor in Huetor's journey and has ridden him in all six Australian starts. 

He said the former French galloper had blossomed this campaign and enjoyed being on a firmer surface after finishing fourth to Zaaki on a heavy track in the Hollindale Stakes. 

"He has been a lovely horse from the get-go," McEvoy said. 

"The Snowdens' have been rapt in him. They've had him for that bit longer and he has just settled in better again this preparation. 

"The better ground suited, Eagle Farm suited and he's a great horse. He is an improving horse and he is a lovely horse to be associated with." 

Huetor will continue his winter campaign in the $1.2 million The Q22 (2200m) at Eagle Farm in two weeks when he attempts to follow in the footsteps of Zaaki, who claimed the Doomben Cup-Q22 double 12 months ago.