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Image: Darren Winningham
Huetor has been marked up as the early favourite for the Q22

The Peter and Paul Snowden trained Huetor, conqueror of the mighty Zaaki in the Group 1 Doomben Cup, has been marked up as the early favourite at $2.70 for the $1.5 million Q22 to be run at Eagle Farm on Stradbroke day, June 11.

The Annabel Neasham trained Zaaki, who won the Q22 last year, is not in this year’s line-up, but Neasham is still tracking possible back-to-back wins for the stable in the race as she has the five-year-old gelding Hopeful (who won the Listed Lord Mayor’s Cup at Rosehill in his last start) on the second line of betting at $4.50.

The John O’Shea trained Maximal, who finished an eye-catching second to Huetor in the Doomben Cup, is the only other runner quoted under the $8 mark for the Q22 at $4.80 … with the betting indicating a three-horse race at this stage.

While Zaaki’s demise in the Doomben Cup provided a bonanza result for bookmakers, in reality, it equally defied logic to call the Huetor result – a Group 1 winner trained by Team Snowden and ridden by Kerrin McEvoy – a boilover!

The Snowden stable’s record in Group 1 racing in Queensland is as good as it gets and, when you throw in the Queensland Group 1 winning record of Kerrin McEvoy, the rating barometer of their respective fortunes when they take on the Queensland challenge goes through the roof.

It has been well documented that Kerrin McEvoy gave a real clue as to Huetor’s prowess when speaking at the launch of the Stradbroke Season carnival in late April.

“Peter and Paul Snowden have a few horses coming up. One of his horses I am looking forward to riding is a horse called Huetor. He is from France. He’s had one run back and he is going to be aimed at the Hollindale and the Doomben Cup. Obviously, we’ve got Zaaki to contend with there … but he is an exciting horse. He had had three wins in Australia already from four starts and he is one to keep an eye on when he steps out.”

Too little. Too late … you might think.

Talking with hindsight.

Maybe, but the facts didn’t change … they just had to be recognised and, for those who did that, the $16 starting price of Huetor would have provided a healthy return for their diligence.

Sure, betting against Zaaki, even with all of the Huetor information firmly in front of you, would have been a tough ask … but, as I said, boilover is arguably too strong a word given the record of the Huetor team. Perhaps more focus should be on the merit of Huetor’s performance than the disappointment of Zaaki’s result.

Now Huetor is favourite for the Q22.

He arrived in the country from France as a two-time winner from nine starts and has now progressed to being a six-time winner from fifteen starts … and, of course, a winner at Group 1 level.

Huetor was third-up in the Doomben Cup and the two weeks break in-between that taxing run and the Q22 will serve him well … as it will the Doomben Cup runner-up Maximal.

As for Neasham, looking for a bit of ‘payback’, she will bring Hopeful, interestingly enough also a French import, as the slightly fresher horse on the scene having landed that Lord Mayor’s Cup win a week before the Doomben Cup was run. It will be Hopeful’s first run in Queensland.

It is lining up as a very interesting contest.

Last year Zaaki, amongst other things, completed the Doomben Cup / Q22 double which launched his career into a totally new trajectory and the chances are that this year’s Q22 result could similarly set Huetor up as a horse really going places in the future!

 
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