There were only a handful of runners for the $1m Group 1 Underwood Stakes but Zaaki showed just what he’s made of after winning the event at Sandown Lakeside under just hands and heels riding from Craig Williams.
On Friday, bookmaking powerhouse the TAB, paid out early on Zaaki winning the Cox Plate and given his performance on Saturday it could save them a few dollars in the long run.
Sydney based trainer Annabel Neasham was forced to watch the run from home and it would have been a confidence boosting run as the 6 year old put away a reasonably strong field with ease in his second up run.
Even with only 5 runners in the race Zaaki was able to make runner up Probabeel and third placed Superstorm, both who have Group 1 victories, look one paced when toiling behind the winner.
Stable rep Todd Pollard said afterwards there were nerves in the camp leading into Zaaki’s first Victorian run.
"Outstanding. Quite nerve racking going into this. You wait two weeks and then it ends up being a five horse field, odds-on favourite and the pressure was really on," Pollard said.
"Once the saddle was on and he perks up a bit, it’s just good to see him out there and doing his business."
Jockey Craig Williams was naturally full of enthusiasm after a Winx like performance from Zaaki.
“Oh, he’s good,” Williams said.
“The thing, for me, that makes him feel so good is that I think that he reads his form and he knows he’s good.
“He pumps his chest up and the jockey gets on when it comes to raceday and he’s a real racehorse.”