All star performer ZAAKI  headlines a quality line-up of horses assembling for this year’s $500,000 Group 2 TAB Hollindale Stakes to be run at the Sunshine Coast on May 6.

Traditionally run at Aquis Park, the Hollindale Stakes Raceday will be staged on the Sunshine Coast this year while the $63 million redevelopment of the Gold Coast Turf Club is completed.

With three weeks to go until the rebadged Coast-to-Coast Raceday, the big guns have begun to emerge as attention turns to the Queensland Racing Carnival over the Winter.

Trainer Annabel Neasham has confirmed that ZAAKI will attempt to create history by winning his third successive Hollindale Stakes after his gallant second in last Saturday’s All Aged Stakes at Royal Randwick.

Last year the eight-year-old joined the likes of ROUGH HABIT (1991 and 1992), SHOGUN LODGE (2000 and 2001) and LEEBAZ (2015 and 2016) as the only horses to have won back-to-back Hollindale Stakes but no horse has ever recorded a three-peat.

The powerful Chris Waller stable is also set to be well represented in the Hollindale, with the likes of Group 1 Queen of the Turf winner ATISHU, Group 2 winner YONKERS and Group 1 Metropolitan winner NO COMPROMISE all contenders to line-up in the race.

Last Saturday’s Group 3 JRA Plate winner DIAMIL (John O’Shea) and third placegetter HUETOR (Peter and Paul Snowden) also have their sights on the Hollindale alongside Caulfield Cup runner-up NONCONFORMIST (Grahame Begg).

Adding to the allure of the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes is the $200,000 bonus on offer should a horse win the feature race and back it up with a win in the Doomben Cup or the Q22 Races held later in the Winter Carnival.

GCTC CEO Steve Lines said the club was thrilled to have an all star cast assembling for the race as the GCTC continues its push to have the race elevated to Group 1 status.

“With ZAAKI’s memorable victories over the past two years, the Hollindale has rated highly and we will continue to advocate for to it be classified as a Group 1,” said Lines.

“All things going to plan, this year’s field shapes as being one of the best in recent memory.

“I am sure the Sunshine Coast public will relish the opportunity to attend a feature raceday boasting six black type races.”

The Coast to Coast Raceday is headlined by the $500,000 Group 2 TAB Hollindale Stakes, along with the two $200,000 Group 3 races in the Gold Coast Guineas and Ken Russell Memorial Classic.

Talented Queensland three-year-old GOLDEN BOOM and Magic Millions 3YO winner FASHION LEGEND are among the early contenders targeting the Gold Coast Guineas.

With the GCTC and Sunshine Coast Turf Club working hand in hand to bring together this year’s event, Sunshine Coast Turf Club CEO John Miller said the organisation was ecstatic to be hosting the event.

“We’re really excited to be working with the Gold Coast Turf Club to deliver the feature Hollindale Stakes meeting,” said Miller.

“Hosting a race day of this calibre is a wonderful opportunity for the community to come along and see high quality racing in our own backyard, adding to our existing feature racedays throughout the year.

“It speaks volumes for all the hard work we’ve done here at the Turf Club, and hosting Saturday metropolitan racing is a wonderful advertisement not only for the local racing fraternity but for the whole area.

“It will bring a welcome injection to local businesses, but importantly gives locals a chance to come and experience a quality day of entertainment both on and off the track, without having to leave the Sunshine Coast.”

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