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Group targets await Zakouski following easy Meydan handicap success


Zakouski booked a return to Pattern company with a decisive win in a turf mile handicap on week two of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan, UAE, on Thursday, 9 January.

The four-year-old son of Shamardal, making only his third career start for Charlie Appleby, broke well and was soon settled behind the leaders in third on the inside rail by William Buick. He moved up to second at the top of the straight and ran on strongly, reeling in Yaalail with just over a furlong left before forging clear to prevail by three and three-quarter lengths.

Charlie Appleby said: “We were confident about Zakouski. We had considered running him on week one of the Carnival but just felt that conditions didn’t quite suit, so we came here with a lot of confidence.

“He shows a lot of talent at home but was a bit disappointing on his latest start in the G3 Craven Stakes, so we gelded him afterwards. His family have a good level of ability but have their quirks – we gelded his half-brother King’s Command and he went on to become a Group performer.

“We felt that the Carnival would suit and that we would use his handicap mark here to let him get some confidence. Hopefully, he can have a fruitful career once he gets back to the UK.

“William Buick mentioned the G2 Zabeel Mile (Thursday, 20 February) straight afterwards, although I wouldn’t mind dropping him back to seven furlongs for the G2 Al Fahidi Fort (Thursday, 23 January), as a strong pace over that trip would suit. He could do both races, although we will see how he comes out of this first.”

William Buick said: “It is lovely to be back and it was a lovely performance from a very unexposed horse.

“Zakouski ran in the Craven after winning first time out at Kempton the year before and nothing went right for him, so let’s hope he can get his career back on track. As you saw today, mentally he has matured a lot. He took everything in his stride and I was very happy all round.

“I think he can do seven furlongs or a mile. Either would come alike to him because he has plenty of speed, but he proved today a mile is fine.”