New Zealander Rising Romance holds sway over Zanbagh in ATC Oaks betting but the Guy Walter-trained filly can reassert herself as favourite with victory in the Keith Nolan Classic.
Her always conservative trainer Guy Walter said the filly had a few things against her in Sunday’s Group Three at Kembla Grange but said she was ready to show the form which almost took her to an Oaks win at Flemington in the spring.
“She has got an awkward alley in the middle and it’s a top field,” Walter said.
“But she has had two runs back now and the 1600 metres will suit her at this stage of her preparation.
“She has a top rider in Blake Shinn so it will be up to him to get her in a good position.”
A daughter of 2004 AJC Australian Oaks winner Wild Iris, Zanbagh has put in two eye-catching runs since a summer spell, the most recent when fifth behind Thump in the Surround Stakes (1400m), beaten 1-1/2 lengths.
With four scratchings by Saturday afternoon, Zanbagh’s stablemate Missvonn has gained a start but Walter will weigh up her options.
“She is also entered for the class two on the program and that might be better for her,” he said.
“She is an improving filly but the Keith Nolan might be too tough.”
Chris Waller has been left with just one Keith Nolan runner, Made To Order, after withdrawing Define and Chateau Lafaite, a sister to last year’s Oaks winner Royal Descent.
“Made To Order is looking for further but I expect her to run well,” Waller said.
Anthony Cummings also expects Paris Match to give a good account of herself after a win and two placings since joining his stable.
The filly was among the horses John Singleton removed from Gai Waterhouse after their public falling out almost a year ago.
“I think she is a live chance,” Cummings said.
“The plan is to take her through the traditional path of the Keith Nolan and the Adrian Knox on the way to the Oaks.”
Paris Match will be ridden by Glen Boss who had the dates of a careless riding suspension altered in order to ride the filly.
And a win might help Cummings and Boss ease the pain of Friday night’s Group One second by Fontelina who went down by a nose to Spirit Of Boom.