Wagga trainer Chris Hardy would love to see Zakeriz add another cup success to his record when he ventures to Queanbeyan on Sunday but the $45,000 feature will be another test of his credentials over 2000m.
Winner of last month's Cootamundra Cup (1600m), Zakeriz had previously won over 1175m and 1400m (twice), all in succession on heavy tracks in the winter last year.
Last start, he stepped up to 2000m for the first time, in the Country Classic at Rosehill and jockey Nyssa Burrells let him lead the field into the straight, but they were overtaken at the 300m mark and finished eighth.
"He's working nicely. Whether he's good enough to run the 2000 out is still the worry but anyway, we'll give him another go at it," Hardy said.
"If it doesn't work, well, we'll try something different."
Zakeriz still finished in the first half of the field, five-and-a-half lengths off the winner Real Time Warrior.
Nick Olive's Invicible Dash (fourth) was one who overtook them, and they meet again in the Queanbeyan Cup, while Snake Gully Cup runner-up Upper House (trained by Norm Gardner) is the topweight.
"They're all hard to beat, there's a few with fair form, but you've just got to take them on and see what happens," Hardy said.
With three wins on heavy and one on soft going, Hardy "wouldn't be upset" if the wet weather makes its way to Queanbeyan this weekend.
And Burrells will again be looking to take Zakeriz forward from barrier 13.
"We won't change things at all. He doesn't like to be held up, we'll keep going the way we have been," Hardy said.
Zakeriz missed almost all of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020 out with a tendon problem.
He's been sound since, and a joy to train, and Hardy said it can be a thrill taking the seven-year-old to country cup meetings.
"They're good if you win! They're not so good if you don't. But if you're not in it you can't win it," he laughed.
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