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Zafina's return to racing after failing to get in foal has been a boon for connections

Tough mare Zafina’s return to racing after failing to get in foal has continued to be a boon for Canberra trainer Matt Dale.

Zafina ($11) gave Dale a winner his first Magic Millions day runner when she held on by a half neck to beat Suggan Buggan ($6.50) in Saturday’s $250,000 Country Cup (1200m).

Dale was hoarse from cheering Zafina home and could not hide his admiration for the mare who was formerly trained by Gary Portelli.

“I have only had her for seven starts but she was won four races for us. She went to stud earlier in her career but didn’t get in foal,” Dale said.

“She cost $65,000 as a yearling and has now well and truly recouped that. When she was unlucky at Canterbury at her last start when second we decided to come up here where she had light weight and good barrier.

“Today was obviously her main mission but we will look for something back home.”

Dale won the Group Two Victory Stakes at Eagle Farm with Fell Swoop two years ago.

“I’ve had a bit of luck up here and we might look for more races here with a few of mine,” Dale added.

Winning jockey Jason Collett continued his recent good run with a heady ride on Zafina.

“She showed a lot of fight when the second horse came at her,” Collett said.

Ron Stewart, who rode Suggan Buggan, said the gelding had been held up for a run at 250m mark.

 
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