Zanbagh will head to the 2016 Queen Of The Turf Stakes in a fortnight after she returned to winning form in the 2016 Emancipation Stakes at Rosehill Gardens this afternoon.
Badawiya and Supara fought off the well-backed favourite Solicit at the top of the straight and they looked as though they were going to fight out the finish, but jockey Blake Shinn timed his run to perfection on Zanbagh and she finished over the top of her rivals to record a narrow win.
Shinn had not ridden Zanbagh since she finished second behind Rising Romance in the 2014 edition of the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) and he said after the race that he was thrilled to reunite with the talented mare, who had been trained by his deceased mentor Guy Walter.
“It means a lot to me,” Shinn said.
“Coming here today there was one horse that I really wanted to win on and it was this horse for a number of reasons.
“I hadn’t rode her in a long time, but I’m sure Guy will be upstairs looking down on her today and just admiring the training efforts of John Thompson and hopefully very proud of the deeds I have done since he passed away.
“It is just great and I was so thankful for the start that he gave me when I came back to riding.
“It is just so special to be able to win on a horse that he has had so much to do with.
Zanbagh failed during a 12 month stint under the care of Patrick Payne, but she has returned to her best form under the care of John Thompson and she recorded her first stakes win since she took out the 2014 edition of the Group 3 Keith Nolan Classic (1600m).
Thompson confirmed that Zanbagh will contest the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick in two weeks and he believes that she goes into the race as a genuine chance.
“She went to Melbourne and she might not have liked the cold weather, but she came to me in very good order,” Thompson said.
“She hasn’t missed a beat since she has been here and she is going very well.
“Her first few runs have been terrific on dry tracks and we were actually going to miss this run and go straight to the Queen Of The Turf, but she was just going so well that we had to run her.
“The mares in form and she has been consistent the whole way through.”
Supara battled on gamely to finish second behind Zanbagh and Amicus produced an improved performance to round out the placings.