Patrick Payne’s new stable acquisition Zanbagh had a stroll around at the Cranbourne trials on Monday as she begins her build up to the 2014 Group 1 $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 18.
Zanbagh joined Payne’s Plumpton stables after the untimely death of prominent Sydney trainer Guy Walter in May and has set the Bernardini mare on one of the toughest missions on the Australian Racing Calendar and a chance to win the richest 2400m Handicap in the world.
“She has arrived in great order and she is very sound and well,” Payne said.
“I am happy to be training her.”
Payne wasn’t expecting Zanbagh to break any records in the 990m barrier trial at Cranbourne and jockey Michelle Payne was happy to follow the rest of the eight horse field around in the heavy conditions.
“Today was just exercise for her and was basically just to get her out of the house,” Patrick Payne told the Herald Sun.
But Payne has no worries about Zanbagh’s staying ability after she was runner up as a three year old in the Group 1 $1m Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington during the 2013 Melbourne Spring Carnival then was runner up again in the Group 1 $1m Seven News Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick during the Sydney Autumn Carnival this year.
Payne plans to run Zanbagh over 1500m and 1600m at Moonee Valley before heading to the Group 3 $150,000 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on September 20, a ballot exempt race for the Caulfield Cup.
“The Naturalism Stakes is a pretty important race for her as it is exempt free for the Caulfield Cup,” Payne said.
Besides being runner-up in two Oaks under the care of Walter, Zanbagh was also able to win the Group 3 $200,000 Illawarra Mercury Keith F Nolan Classic (1600m) at Kembla Grange on March 23 in the lead up to the Australian Oaks.
In early Caulfield Cup betting with Ladbrokes.com.au, Zanbagh is around the $21 mark with Australian Oaks winner Rising Romance heading the market order at $13 just ahead of Crown Oaks winner Kirramosa, Vinery Stud Stakes winner Lucia Valentina and Sydney Cup winner The Offer all at $15.