Zanbagh is bringing a different 2013 Crown Oaks form line to the Group 1 event at Flemington this afternoon and trainer Guy Walter is confident that his decision not to run the filly in the Wakeful Stakes will pay dividends.
Zanbagh and Quayside are the only runners in the 2013 Crown Oaks field that did not run in the Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m), won by Kirramosa in impressive fashion on Saturday, with Walter electing to not to run the Bernardini filly since his dominant five lengths romp at Ballarat on October 24.
Walter admitted that Zanbagh did not face the strongest field at Ballarat but is confident that she will relish the step-up to 2500 metres in today’s Oaks and will be competitive against a number of leading fillies in her Group 1 debut.
”If she had run on Saturday you wouldn’t have a filly for the Oaks,” Walter told Fairfax.
”Ballarat has set her up for this race and for the future.
”She won with a bit of authority last time, albeit against an average field, but they were older mares and it’s always difficult to beat them at this time of year.
”She won with a bit in hand and gave the impression that she would run the journey
“Obviously she has to make a big step up, but I’m confident she can.”
Zanbagh has been well supported in 2013 Crown Oaks betting markets and is now on the second line of betting at odds of $5; with John Sargent-trained Kirramosa remaining a clear favourite and market mover at odds of $2.60.
Walter admits that the in-form Kirramosa will be difficult to beat but said that he has nothing to lose giving Zanbagh an opportunity at the highest level of racing in the Crown Oaks and believes that she will be ever stronger when she returns in the autumn for the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m).
”If she gets beat but runs a nice race, we will go home and get ready for the AJC Oaks,” Walter said.
“She’ll be a lot stronger with a couple of wins under her belt,” Walter said.
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