Zanbagh Eyeing Melbourne Cup Form in 2014 Geelong Cup

October 21st, 2014

Steadily building to the task over three starts this time in, trainer Patrick Payne has revealed classy mare Zanbagh is aiming to secure a berth in the 2014 Melbourne Cup with a victory in Wednesday’s featured Geelong Cup (2200m).

Zanbagh (centre) is aiming to secure credible Melbourne Cup form with victory in Wednesday's Group 3 Geelong Cup. Photo: Race Horse Photos Australia

Zanbagh (centre) is aiming to secure credible Melbourne Cup form with victory in Wednesday’s Group 3 Geelong Cup. Photo: Race Horse Photos Australia

A proven performer amongst classy staying company, Zanbagh finished a close second in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) on April 19th this year; form which was franked last weekend when winner Rising Romance and third placegetter Lucia Valentina finished second and third respectively in the major Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).

A leading chance for success in the Geelong Cup, Payne told the Herald Sun he is confident the Bernardini mare will make the grade, but will have to either win or display a particularly polished performance to convince the team a Melbourne Cup appearance is a viable option, particularly after finishing third in the Benalla Cup (2046m) last time out.

“They out-sprinted her on the quick ground from the 800m, but she did her best work over the last 400m and that was encouraging,” Payne said of Zanbagh’s Benalla Cup performance.

“She is in the Melbourne Cup field, but she would probably need to win or run really well to convince us to go that way or we may look at easier races.

“We’ll make up our minds after the Geelong Cup, which is an ideal race for her.

“She is racing into good form again, so I’m excepting her to step up now at her fourth run from a spell.”

Securing a credible total of three wins an and a further four minors from her 15 competitive starts so far, Zanbagh was a standout performer over the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival; winning minors over 1600m and 2000m before placing a close second to Kirramosa in the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m).

Winning the Group 3 Keith F Nolan Classic (1600m) and finishing fifth in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) leading into the Australian Oaks most notably over the Autumn Carnival, the mare out of Wild Iris finishing ninth in the Sportingbet Handicap (1500m) and sixth in another minor over 1600m prior to the Benalla Cup.

Allocated the central barrier 6, Zanbagh has been confirmed to be partnered by last-start jockey Michelle Payne in the 2014 Geelong Cup and is currently available at generous odds of $6.50 for success with leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au.

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