A five-length romp at Zanbagh’s only start in the wet is a confidence booster for trainer Guy Walter ahead of the filly’s bid for a Group One victory at Rosehill.
Heavy rain fell in Sydney on Friday afternoon, the eve of the Golden Slipper meeting at Rosehill which also boasts the Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m), a traditional lead-up to the Oaks.
Zanbagh is the favourite for the Oaks on April 19 ahead of New Zealander Rising Romance, one of her Vinery rivals.
Walter was originally dismayed when Zanbagh came up with the outside barrier but said with a wet track, it might not be as bad as he feared.
“The biggest problem is the barrier but the rain could negate that concern,” Walter said.
“The outside might be the place to be and she has handled wet ground before.”
Walter took an unorthodox approach with Zanbagh to get her to the VRC Oaks in the spring, taking her to Ballarat where she won a 1600-metre maiden in early October.
She went back to the country Victorian track to take on older mares over 2000m on heavy ground with blinkers added to her gear.
Zanbagh raced through the mud to win easily and went to Flemington for the Oaks (2500m), going down by just a long head to Kirramosa who is missing from the autumn line-up.
A daughter of 2004 Oaks winner Wild Iris, Zanbagh has been fitted with bar plates in front, something Walter said was of no concern.
“It is nothing major,” he said.
“She has flat feet and her heels get worn.
“The farrier advised we put the bar plates on which just helps take the pressure off.”
Her stablemate Missvon has also got a start in the Vinery as the first emergency with the scratching of Amanpour and Walter was happy with the filly’s 1-1/2 lengths fifth in the recent Keith Nolan Classic behind Zanbagh.
“It’s a big step up but she ran well last time,” he said.
Missvon has drawn one gate inside Zanbagh and will be ridden by Glen Boss while Blake Shinn sticks with Zanbagh.