Plume-based horseman Patrick Payne has taken over the training of the former Guy Walter-trained filly Zanbagh who he’ll prepare for a shot at the Melbourne Cup 2014 this spring.
After the sad death of Walter days after he won the Doomben Cup with star mare Streama, longtime friend Payne has been called upon to prepare his late mentor’s horse.
A former jockey who only started training in 2008, Payne now has in his care three-year-old Bernardini filly Zanbagh, a dual Group 1 Oaks runner-up who is gearing up for a big Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival campaign.
“She arrived here with me a week ago,” he told Racing Victoria speaking of the filly owned by the Tait family who Payne has a long association with also back from his riding days.
“It all happened under the worst circumstances with Guy Walter passing away; this isn’t the way you want to get a good horse like this.
“I feel quite honoured and a little bit under pressure because Guy was such a great trainer.
“I feel a bit of that pressure, but I’m very much looking forward to training her.
“I’d like to think that that there’s a fair amount of mutual respect between the Tait family and I; and let’s hope that continues.”
A winner of three of her dozen starts to date for over half a million in prize money, Zanbagh was last seen crossing a length away second to Rising Romance in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) on April 19 at Randwick.
That came on the back of a fifth to Lucia Valentina in the wet at Rosehill in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) where she jumped from barrier 16 of 16 on a Heavy (8) track.
It was also her second minor placing in a Group 1 after going down just a long neck to Kirramosa in the Crown Oaks (2500m) in Melbourne last spring.
This coming season the sky’s the limit for the promising staying type, the rising four-year-old to be aimed at the iconic $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
“Guy was such a great trainer, he looked after his horses so well,” Payne said.
“She’s arrived at my place and is just beautiful and sound, a really happy horse. There’s a lot left in her.”
Leading up to the Melbourne Cup 2014 Payne also indicated she would target the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 18.
“She looks to me like an ideal Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup horse,” Payne said.
“We’ll head toward that path, but we’re going to be very open-minded throughout it.
“Everyone knows, it’s very deep water when a horse goes from three-year-old filly’s grade to when she’s racing against older mares.
“Sometimes it can take six months to adapt to racing against older horses, but we’ll see how she goes.”
Pre-nomination Melbourne Cup betting markets are already open at a number of bookmakers around the country including our preferred, Ladbrokes.com.au.
Those markets are currently led by the Gai Waterhouse-trained The Offer ($13), a winner of three straight during the autumn including the Group 1 Sydney Cup over the two miles on April 19.
Zanbagh meanwhile can be found further down the futures Melbourne Cup odds at a quote of $34 following news she’ll target the world’s richest handicap.
Make sure you get in on the juicy Melbourne Cup futures odds online now at Ladbrokes.com.au where your first deposit will also be matched dollar for dollar as a bonus bet valued up to $250 to use on a race or races of your choice!