This was meant to be a Zaaki advantage race, a walkover competition in which the former Pom pushed his credentials for the title of Australia’s best horse.
But another horse, next Saturday Caulfield Cup favorite Incentivize, who laughed in his box at home, now has that crown on.
And it was created almost by default when Zaaki’s reputation took a hit.
The glory of sports is its great uncertainty, but few warned otherwise than a one-horse race when Zaaki was sent out $ 1.28 in the newly named Might And Power.
The only question before the race was who would end up as number two after the furious Cox Plate favorite.
WHAT. A RACE. pic.twitter.com/mymdPmDYxn
– Racing.com (@Racing) October 9, 2021
A few minutes later and there were many more questions.
Was Zaaki regretted at the rock-hard Caulfield track, a surface many coaches said was as hard as a highway?
Was there anything in Dwayne Dunn’s pre-race radio commentary where he polished his crystal ball and predicted the future when he said on the street that Zaaki’s latest trackwork had been “pretty basic”?
Did Mudd And Muddle’s pace in Superman make it purely deadly?
What about the tape Zaaki wore on all four fetlocks as he drove on solid ground and his tendency to pull early and hang in under pressure?
Or maybe Zaaki was just not as good as we thought he was?
A characteristic of all masters is that at some point in their careers they have to drag themselves off the canvas, and the leadership of the Cox record is now becoming even more fascinating.
Zaaki (blue and red) did not have the same acceleration as Probabeel (right) and Nonconformist (right). Image: Racing Photos via Getty Images
That was reportedly the aftermath when jockey Craig Williams declared that they had lost the match, but the war was not over with Zaaki.
Annabel Neasham had always been very aware that she was never worried about preserving Zaaki’s fence of victories, a streak that has now been stopped at five.
It was always about Cox Plate, Zaaki’s big last race, which TAB was so sure he would win that they paid out to him weeks ago.
The same betting agency settled its Cox Plate odds from $ 1.80 to $ 2.50 after his sensational Caulfield defeat and finished in third place.
While the sequel to Might And Power centered on Zaaki, the Probabeel boiling winner continued with the extraordinary renaissance of the man from the spring Brett Prebble.
It was not so long ago that Prebble struggled to get a tour of places he had barely heard of in the Victoria region.
Now Prebble has wheeled up four Victorian spring group 1s – and we have not even arrived at the Caulfield Cup, where he rides on furious favorite Incentivize.
Giant-killer Prebble has made lowering the colors of some bloody good horses an absolute art form.
Seven days earlier, prebble nine-time Verry Elleegant left in his wake and he has now delivered the same dose to Zaaki.