Jockey Blake Shinn is confident 2014 Australian Oaks (2400m) leading chance Zanbagh will return to winning form in this weekend’s Group 1 on day 2 of The Championships at Royal Randwick after working well this week.
Unable to completely handle the heavy going and fifth in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) last time out, Shinn told TVN he is optimistic of the Bernardini filly’s chances amongst a talented field in the Australian Oaks.
“To me her wheels were just spinning in the real heavy ground last start, whether that was not getting traction with those shoes on I’m not quite sure, but she certainly didn’t quicken like she can” Shinn said.
“Hopefully it is a little dryer.”
Confirmed to have Bar Plates which were fitted for the Vinery Stud Stakes removed this weekend, Shinn said the allocation of the ideal barrier six will likely play a big part in Zanbagh’s hopeful success on Saturday.
“Naturally I think she will race a little closer because of the draw, I think she is going to be very hard to beat. I think she can bounce back” Shinn added.
Contesting a strong record of three wins and two places from just 11 competitive race starts to date, Zanbagh was one of the standout performers of the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, overcoming a forgettable run for 13th in a minor event over 1300m on August 14th to win the City Of Ballarat Plate (1600m) and Sportsbet Top Tote Plus Handicap (2000m) before finishing an unlucky second to Kirramosa in the major Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) on November 7th.
Building to the task over four race starts this time in, Zanbagh appeared rusty when ninth in the Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) first-up, finishing fifth in the Group 2 Surround Stakes on March 8th before returning to the winner’s circle in the Group 3 Keith F Nolan Classic (1600m) prior to the Vinery Stud Stakes.
Appearing to sit in the box seat for this weekend’s Australian Oaks, Zanbagh is currently sole occupant of the second line of betting for success at $6 odds.
Vinery Stud Stakes champion Lucia Valentina has opened as and maintained status as clear favourite for the 2014 Australian Oaks, currently offered at a short quote of $2.50.
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