Kerrin McEvoy turned into Nostradamus, Paul Snowden was a giant killer and Zaaki sold for $1.24.
That was the story of the Group 1 Doomben Cup that few saw coming.
The one in which star horse Zaaki not only failed to replicate his seven-long wrecking job in last year’s Doomben Cup, but knocked out just one stroke to take a mediocre third-place finish.
Still, at least one person saw it coming.
That was champion jockey Kerrin McEvoy who told News Corp at the launch of the winter carnival in Queensland last month that he was pairing his wagon with imported permanent Huetor to become its main horse of Carnival Group 1.
Huetor pulls out the Doomben Cup ????
— 7HorseRacing ???? (@7horseracing) May 28, 2022
At the time, McEvoy’s prediction looked daring at best.
Huetor had won his first three Australian starts ahead of Peter and Paul Snowden, but to name him in the same breath as Zaaki seemed like comparing a fine wine to a $20,000 bottle of fine French champagne.
But all of a sudden, that comparison didn’t seem too crazy, as Huetor ($16) took the money in the Doomben Cup, while Zaaki, who had sat outside leader Polly Grey, just fought away for third place when Maximal ($41) rose to the top for the second.
For Zaaki, connections were left to mourn an unusually poor performance with not only the $600,000 first prize going out the window, but also a $200,000 bonus imposed on Racing Queensland for a horse that won the Hollindale Stakes-Doomben Cup double. could win.
Jockey James McDonald indicated that Zaaki “found just that last bit, a bit of a pinch”.
Huetor (yellow cap) was the size of Zaaki (blue cap) in the Doomben Cup. Photo: Grant Peters-Trackside Photography
And Neasham said the Doomben Cup reshuffle from last Saturday’s faded map – meaning the race went 100m higher at Eagle Farm – may have been antagonizing her star horse.
“He stopped just fine,” Neasham said.
“The extra 100 meters was probably not ideal.
“And he probably came to the end (this preparation).”
Just about everything the Snowdens touch in Brisbane this winter carnival turns to gold and so it was with Huetor.
The $1.2 million Q22 won by Zaaki last year is next on the agenda for Huetor, who appreciated getting more grounded at Eagle Farm.
“He’s worked his way up to a performance like this today, it just took some racing to get him there,” said Paul Snowden.
Huetor confirmed Kerrin McEvoy’s high opinion of him. Photo: Grant Peters-Trackside Photography
“These town horses (Sydney) that come here, they don’t know what they’re doing because they’ve been lugging through the mud for the past three months.
“It has culminated in this prep with today and its next run in Q22.”
McEvoy, who took his 80th Group 1 win, said: “He’s a beautiful horse in the making and that was such a great performance today.”
Maximal’s jockey Nash Rawiller, who had been dumped from Steel Prince earlier in the day, was delighted with the run of John O’Shea’s imported stayer.
“He ran great, but he just lacks that experience in Australia,” Rawiller said.
“He pulled a little bit into the run and I think if he had lowered the bridle a little better in the early stages, the race would have been within his reach.
“Great run and he’s a horse on his way up.”