Qafila has snapped a lengthy absence from the winner’s stall in an encouraging start to her campaign in the Group Two Angus Armanasco Stakes at Caulfield.
The filly won the Listed Debutant Stakes on debut at Caulfield in October 2017 and Saturday’s win was the three-year-old’s first victory in 12 starts since, despite being competitive in a number of feature races.
Qafila finished second in the Group Two Wakeful Stakes over 2000m at Flemington last spring before her fifth in the VRC Oaks (2500m) and co-trainer David Hayes has pencilled in the Group One Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) in Sydney as one autumn target for the filly.
“She’s a genuine 2000-metre horse who was unlucky in the Wakeful Stakes on Derby Day at Flemington last year and probably should have won,” Hayes said.
“It’s great for her to get the Group win today. She’s a Listed winner and now a Group winner and she might go for some really good races this autumn like the Vinery in Sydney.”
The Vinery Stud Stakes is at Rosehill on March 30 and Hayes indicated Qafila could head there with only one more start in between.
Qafila ($6.50) settled back in the field over the 1400m before making her run down the outside in the straight under Mark Zahra to defeat West Australian Angelic Ruler ($2.60) by a half-length with a long neck to Zoubo ($16) third.
“I just rode her nice and quiet and she was very strong late,” Zahra said.
“She’ll get better as they get further.”