Australian Oaks favourite Zanbagh will undergo a vet’s inspection today before being cleared to take her place in the Group 1 $400,000 Vinery Stud Stakes field over 2000m at Rosehill on Saturday.
Trainer Guy Walter advised Racing New South Wales stewards that Zanbagh will be wearing bar plates in front on Saturday to protect a section of one heel that has become slightly worn during her preparation but added that the filly had not missed any work.
Racing New South Wales released the following statement – “Mr Walter advised that his farrier had recommended the addition of Bar Plates as a precautionary measure due to one heel becoming slightly worn. Mr Walter further advised that the filly has worked well in Bar Plates this week and that the filly’s program had not been interrupted.”
Zanbagh has been prominent in the betting for the Group 1 $1m ATC Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on April 19, the second day of ‘The Championships’, after running second to Kirramosa in the Group 1 $1m Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington in the Spring.
And the Bernadini filly showed that she was on track for Saturday’s race over the 2000m after winning the Group 3 $200,000 Illawarra Mercury Keith F Nolan Classic (1600m) at Kembla Grange on March 23.
“She’s a lovely filly on the way up,” Walter said.
“She’s a very versatile, very relaxed sort of a filly, very clean-winded and I think when she gets to a journey Blake could ride her a number of ways.
“Up to 2000 she’s going to be very hard to beat.”
Sydney jockey Blake Shinn has been aboard Zanbagh at all three runs this preparation as well as her second in the Crown Oaks but will have to be at the top of his game in the Vinery Stud Stakes after the filly drew the outside gate at nineteen in the original barrier draw.
Even when the field is reduced to sixteen runners if the three emergencies don’t get a run, Zanbagh will still be the last to load in the outside gate.
Melbourne filly Solicit is expected to produce a better performance with Chad Schofield from barrier seven in the Vinery Stud Stakes after being beaten as a short priced favourite in the Listed $120,000 Schweppes Alexandra Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on March 21.
Flemington trainer Mathew Ellerton, who trains in partnership with Simon Zahra, is willing to forget that the Solicit went around at Moonee Valley after the filly won her two previous starts this preparation both over 1400m at Flemington, the Group 3 $150,000 The Mittys Vanity (1400m) and the Group 2 $220,000 TAB Kewney Stakes (1400m).
“The last place we wanted to be was third on the fence,” Ellerton told AAP.
“As it turned it, the fence was horrible. I think she ran all right.”
Marianne from the Michael Kent stable is also making the trip up from Melbourne to take on the Sydney fillies after winning the Alexandra Stakes and will jump from gate four with Craig Williams to ride again.
Kiwi filly Miss Mossman will be having her first Australian start after winning the Group 1 NZ$300,000 Wellfield New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham on March 15 and will jump from gate three with Nash Rawiller.
And Rising Romance from gate nine is also making her Australian debut after running second to Puccini in the Group 1 NZ$750,000 TV3 NZ Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie on March 1.