Talented filly Zanbagh will return to Group 1 level in the 2014 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on April 5 after recording a comfortable victory in the Group 3 Keith Nolan Classic (1600m) at Kembla Grange yesterday.
Zanbagh started her 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign with two promising performances in the Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on February 22 and the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm on March 8 and was too strong for her opposition when dropped back in class in the Keith Nolan Classic.
Jockey Blake Shinn positioned Zanbagh in the middle of the Keith Nolan Classic field and the daughter of Bernardini responded well when asked for an extra effort to score a length win from Role Model and a fast-finishing Metaphorical.
Trainer Guy Walter was happy with the performance of the 2013 Crown Oaks runner-up and confirmed that she would contest the Vinery Stud Stakes in the lead-up to the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick on April 19.
“She fought off the others very well; it was a good, strong win,” Walter said
“She’s a lovely filly on the way up.
“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.”
Shinn has a very high opinion of Zanbagh and the leading jockey said that the three-year-old travelled beautifully during the run and responded well when he asked her for an extra effort in the final stages of the race.
The duo were narrowly denied a Group 1 win by Kirramosa in the Crown Oaks during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival and Shinn is hopeful that Zanbagh can break through for her maiden win at the highest level of racing in either the Vinery Stud Stakes or the Australian Oaks.
“She’s a very classy filly and this was a great stepping stone towards the Oaks,” Shinn said.
“I thought she had to come here today and win this race and she did a great job.
“She was there for me and I knew I had the race won a long way out.
“I’m rapt she’s in Guy’s hands and she’s got some great connections so I really hope we can take out the big one.”
Zanbagh ($4) is favourite in 2014 Australian Oaks betting markets from Kiwi filly Rising Romance ($5) and Solicit ($7.50).