Trainer Guy Walter is confident of walking away from Royal Randwick on day 2 of The Championships with the major 2014 Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) title to his name, having outlined leading chances Zanbagh and Missvonn as close to certain starters.
Having produced a strong turn of foot to finish an unlucky second behind Arabian Gold in the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) last weekend after contesting the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) the previous weekend, Walter told AAP that while not so ideal, Missvonn should handle a third-straight weekend of racing.
“It will be hard for her to back up three weeks in a row, but she had earned her place” Walter said.
“She came through the race well.”
Securing two wins and two places from only nine race starts to date, Missvonn has quickly displayed an enjoyment of soft, damp tracks, and will be more than a chance in the 2014 Australian Oaks if allocated a favourable barrier.
Zanbagh has returned to the track in competitive form in her current preparation, finishing fifth in the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) on March 8th before claiming a third career victory in the Group 3 Keith F Nolan Classic (1600m) on March 23rd.
Unlucky to be blocked for a run and fifth in the Vinery Stud Stakes last time out, Walter said the Bernardini filly has taken to work well over the last week and will find the 2014 Australian Oaks in good order.
“Zanbagh is also fit and well after the Vinery and has run very well on a very heavy track before” Walter added.
A particularly consistent performer over a five racing 2013 spring preparation, Zanbagh claimed strong victories in both the City Of Ballarat Plate (1600m) and Sportsbet Top Tote Plus Handicap (2000m) before stamping her claims as one to watch this season with an unlucky second in the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) on November 7th.
The final field and barrier draw for the 2014 Australian Oaks is due to be released by Tuesday evening.
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