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Kerrin McEvoy morphed into Nostradamus, Paul Snowden was a giant-killer and Zaaki was turned over at $1.24.

That was the story of the Group 1 Doomben Cup that few saw coming.

The one in which star horse Zaaki not only failed to reproduce his seven-length demolition Doomben Cup job from last year but just one-batted away to finish a lacklustre third.

At least one person did see it coming, however.

That was champion jockey Kerrin McEvoy who told News Corp at last month’s Queensland winter carnival launch that he was hitching his wagon to imported stayer Huetor to be his carnival Group 1 headline horse.

Huetor had won his first three Australian starts for Peter and Paul Snowden but mentioning him in the same breath as Zaaki appeared to be like comparing a nice wine to a $20,000 bottle of fine French Champagne.

But all of a sudden that comparison didn’t seem so silly as Huetor ($16) got the cash in the Doomben Cup as Zaaki, who had been sitting outside the leader Polly Grey, just battled away for third as Maximal ($41) got up for second.

For Zaaki, connections were left to rue an uncustomary poor performance which saw not only the $600,000 first prize go out the window but also a $200,000 bonus that Racing Queensland put on for a horse that could win the Hollindale Stakes-Doomben Cup double.

Jockey James McDonald indicated Zaaki “just found that last little bit, a bit of a pinch”.

And Neasham said the rescheduling of the Doomben Cup from the previous Saturday’s washed-out card – meaning the race went up an extra 100m at Eagle Farm – may have worked against her star horse.

“He’s pulled up fine,” Neasham said.

“The extra 100m probably wasn’t ideal.

“And he’s probably come to the end of it (this preparation).”

Just about everything the Snowdens touch in Brisbane this winter carnival turns to gold and so it was again with Huetor.

The $1.2m Q22, won last year by Zaaki, is next on the agenda for Huetor who appreciated getting on firmer footing at Eagle Farm.

Huetor validated Kerrin McEvoy’s high opinion of him. Picture: Grant Peters-Trackside Photography
“He’s been working up to a performance like this today, it has just taken a little bit of racing to get him there,” Paul Snowden said.

“These city (Sydney) horses coming up here, they don’t know what they are on because they’ve been trudging through the mud the last three months.

“It’s culminated this preparation with today and his next run in the Q22.”

McEvoy, who scored his 80th Group 1 win, said: “He is a lovely horse in the making and that was such a great performance today.”

Maximal’s jockey Nash Rawiller, who had been dumped from Steel Prince earlier in the day, was delighted with the run of John O’Shea’s imported stayer.

“He ran great but he’s just lacking that experience in Australia,” Rawiller said.

“He pulled a bit in the run and I think had he dropped the bridle for me a bit better in the early stages, the race was within his grasp.

“Great run and he’s a horse on the way up.”

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