Image: Bruno Cannatelli
Trainer Annabel Neasham made the call to scratch Zaaki from the Group 1 task in Sydney and head the gelding to Melbourne.
Zaaki was scratched from Saturday’s George Main Stakes (1600m) on Friday afternoon and instead the gelding will contest the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Sandown on Sunday.
The gelding won Underwood last year, beating four opponents, although the field is expected to be considerably larger this year.
It means Zaaki is likely to follow the same program as a year ahead in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22, a race that was scratched by the increased temperature last year.
Zaaki returned to win the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on 3 September, as he did last year, before opting to claim the Underwood Stakes.
Scratching Zaaki from George Main, Neasham said the gelding would have benefited from an extra week after running first on a significantly wet track.
“Zaaki will wait a week and line up in the G1 Underwood at Sandown, with the team feeling he will benefit from another week after having a tough track first,” Neasham said in a statement.
“We called today to ensure he can gallop in the morning in preparation for next weekend.
Scratching Zaaki saw Anamoe become the $1.55 favorite with TAB with Fangirl second choice at $6.50.
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