Sire – Bernadini (USA)
Dam – Wild Iris
Age/Colour/Sex – 3yo Bay Filly
DOB – 12/09/2010
Trainer – Guy Walter
It sounds like some type of dance routine, maybe half Zumba, half Samba? Maybe even a sneeze? But to Fillies Form Zanbagh sounds like an Oaks winner!!!
You could be forgiven for not having heard of this filly, as it was only recently that she began to blossom. Zanbagh is owned by the Tait family who are renowned for breeding and racing great horses such as Baguette, Cabachon, Heirloom, Birthright, Betagleuse, Whisked, Spinning Hill and of course the crowd favourite and 13 time Group 1 winner, Tie The Knot.
Zanbagh is the daughter of the 2004 AJC Oaks winner, Wild Iris, who was also bred and raced by the Tait family and trained by Guy Walter. Sticking with the Iris theme, she is named after a type of Iris species, renowned for its bold purple colour. Tradition will also play a role as Zanbagh, like her dam, will carry the famous red jacket with the white cap, the prominent silks worn by many of the Taits’ champions in years gone by.
Despite the successful combination of both trainer and owner/breeder, the odds are stacked against the filly to win the VRC Oaks. Of the last 30 editions of the Oaks, 21 winners have been given a lead-up run in the Wakeful, this was held last Saturday over 2000m and was won by Kirramosa. Walter though is the master of bringing horses through Country and Provincial racetracks before reaching the big time. He plotted the same path for Wild Iris who had mediocre form, similar to Zanbagh, before she stepped up in distance. So where did Zanbagh’s journey begin?
It’s hard to believe that less than 3 months ago Zanbagh ran 3rd to Mr Fox in a Benchmark 55 over 1400m in Canberra. Although she suffered a narrow defeat, the master trainer’s plan was already in motion as he sent her down to Ballarat to contest a Maiden over 1600m. Starting favourite the filly managed to win by the barest of margins (.1 length) albeit against the older horses, some of whom have come out and won since. The jury was still out, but it would be her next performance that would start to sway opinion. On a Heavy(8) over 2000m at Ballarat, she again started favourite and completely decimated her opposition to win by a widening 5 lengths.
Zanbagh is now on the final leg of her journey in claiming the Oaks. She will progress from Ballarat to Flemington, from 2000m up to 2500m and from a Fillies and Mares rating 64, to a Group 1 against quality opposition. Will she succeed? Both Blake Shinn and Guy Walter are very confident she can, with Walter saying “She has to make a big step and I’m confident she can,” he went on to say “She’s certainly a filly of promise and she certainly gives the impression that she will run the 2500 metres which is important.” Fillies Form share their confidence and if she wins as expected, we will be celebrating with our own version of the ‘Zanbagh’!
VRC Oaks – $4.60 (As of the 6th Nov with Sportsbet.com.au)