Group 1 racing continues in Brisbane this Saturday with an outstanding field of stayers lining up in the $700,000 Doomben Cup (2000m).

Seven Group 1 winners will take their place in the feature, headlined by impressive last start Hollindale Stakes winner Zaaki as the short-priced favourite.

All Star Mile winner Mugatoo also sits on the first line of betting coming off a freshen-up, while there’s a bit to like about Sir Dragonet in his pursuit for a third Group 1.

This is truly one of the best Doomben Cup fields we’ve seen in some time, so be sure to find out our thoughts in our runner-by-runner guide below!

Sir Dragonet

Dual Group 1 winner Sir Dragonet has made the journey up north for a crack at the Brisbane Winter Carnival.

The 2020 Cox Plate winner will make his first start at Doomben and rates as one of the major players despite a disappointing run last time out in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick.

The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained five-year-old found the tempo a little too slow that day, but he should be suited by a much more genuine speed on Saturday with several proven Group 1 winners in the field.

He’s probably better suited to the mile-and-a-half after gapping them by a big margin in the Tancred two runs back, but with Glen Boss still on board and the barrier working to his advantage, he isn’t to be taken lightly.


Mugatoo has been kept fresh for his first race in Queensland after battling home only fairly last time out in the Queen Elizabeth.

Kris Lees’ talented stayer failed to get going on top of the ground that day, but he should be afforded the run of the race this time around after drawing barrier 1.

Hugh Bowman has also had his careless riding suspension reduced so he can saddle the six-year-old – a welcome sign for punters after the pair combined to win the All-Star Mile by half a length coming off a freshen-up.

The Irish import tends to do his best racing coming off a break and he will no doubt appreciate any rain about.

Fifty Stars


The Hollindale Stakes has always been a key form-line heading into the Doomben Cup and there was certainly lots to like about the way Fifty Stars finished off in the feature on the Gold Coast two weeks ago.

The Lindsay Park-trained six-year-old made up big ground from midfield to finish a clear second to Saturday’s favourite Zaaki – a run that suggests he’s looking for further now at this stage of his prep.

Losing the wizardry of William Pike does hurt his chances, but the fact he won the Group 1 Australia Cup over this same trip at Flemington last year makes him worthy of an each-way play.


Avilius has been up for a while, but he’s still managed to hold his form to return some very consistent results.

The Godolphin galloper opened the autumn a half-a-length third to Verry Elleegant in the Chipping Norton, followed by an identical result a month later in the George Ryder at Rosehill.

He’s since ventured to Queensland to run a very strong fourth in the Hollindale in a performance that saw him overcome a three-wide position rounding the turn.

The way he bolted in that day suggests he’ll appreciate racing over further, but considering he hasn’t won a race since his triumph in the George Main Stakes two years ago, he’s probably one for exotics.


Zaaki looks the horse to beat in this year’s Doomben Cup after gaining ballot exemption with a brilliant two-length win in the Hollindale Stakes a fortnight ago on the Gold Coast.

The Hollindale has gone on to produce nine of the last 13 winners of the Doomben Cup, and it is very difficult to fault Annabel Neasham’s talented stayer after the way he let down in the Group 2 feature last time out.

Barrier 9 does leave James McDonald with somewhat of a job to do but considering his ride has placed in four of his five starts over 2000m, there’s no doubt the pair will be fighting out the finish.

This shapes as his toughest assignment to date, but after running well in the Doncaster in his Australian debut before beating home Fifty Stars and Shared Ambition in the Hollindale, he looks more than up to it.


Humidor is always an honest customer and there is no doubt he’s capable of running a cheeky race at odds.

The old boy resumed to run fifth in the Hollindale two weeks ago coming off a freshen-up, while he’s also won three times previously over this trip – the highlight being his first Group 1 win in the Australia Cup at Flemington in 2017.

Chris Waller has been eying a suitable race for him to wrap up his career, and while his best is certainly behind him, it wouldn’t be surprising to watch Humidor run somewhere in the top five in this world-class field.

Shared Ambition

Shared Ambition is one of three Chris Waller-trained runners in Saturday’s field as he steps out looking to improve on a last-start third in the Hollindale.

The five-year-old landed just behind the speed on well under pressure, but it goes without saying that this is a much tougher assignment.

The gelding by Born to Sea has returned a place in four of his five starts this campaign, but he still looks tough to have after failing to fire three runs back over this distance in the Australia Cup.

Southern France


There’s no doubt Southern France is a horse of ability, but this still looks beyond him based on everything we’ve seen since he arrived in Australia ahead of the 2019 Melbourne Cup.

Ciaron Maher and David Eustace’s Irish import has returned only one win from seven starts, while his efforts last month in the Sydney Cup as a $10 chance left a lot to be desired.

The wide barrier only complicates matters.


Brandenburg is having his fourth run back from a spell after storming home to win the inaugural edition of The Coast at Gosford two weeks ago.

The four-year-old was competitive in the Randwick Guineas and the Doncaster this time last year, but the fact this is his first start over 2000m makes him tough to recommend.

Melody Belle

Kiwi superstar Melody Belle will look to add a 15th Group 1 win to her resume in her final go around.  

The six-year-old mare by Commands has been a mixed bag since she journeyed across the ditch two years ago, but this does look like a potentially winnable race for her with four wins on the board over 2000m.

Her run last time out in the Hollindale left a lot to be desired though as she failed to make up any ground from the rear of the field.

On class, she can win this, but after showing very little in two runs since returning to Australia, this might be beyond her if we get a firm track.


Nettoyer is again being overlooked in the market, just like she was two runs back when she claimed a second Group 1 as a $26 chance in the Queen of the Turf.

The pizza-eating mare seems to do her best work when she flies under the radar, and although she’ll need to produce something very special to beat home some of these, she does map to get an ideal run in transit.

We know she’ll get back and run on from barrier 5 and the 2000m shouldn’t be a problem for her with some runs on the board.

Some might argue that she’s run her best race this prep, but with even luck, this isn’t beyond her.

Toffee Tongue

Chris Waller is searching for Group 1 win No. 128 on Saturday and his best chance appears to be Toffee Tongue.

The Tavistock mare settled fourth the fence in the Hollindale before just weakening out to run sixth in the dying stages.

It’s fair to say she’ll only improve getting out to her preferred distance though, especially considering she won the Group 3 Sky High Stakes three runs back over this same distance at Rosehill.

Toffee Tongue also won the South Australian Oaks over 2000m at Morphettville last year and she is certainly capable of running a place here if she can make her own luck on speed.