Zanbagh to run in Festival Stakes 2015 field

John Thompson has been forced to change tack with Zanbagh, simply because the mare has done so well since her first-up win.

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The dual Group One placegetter found a home with Thompson at Randwick after retirement plans were shelved.

Her win for her new stable on November 14 at Rosehill was over 1350 metres, her first at less than 1600m.

Zanbagh’s next outing was to be the Group Two Villiers Stakes (1600m) on December 12 but Saturday’s Listed Festival Stakes (1500m) has been added to her program.

“We were thinking about giving her a month between runs and going to the Villiers next,” Thompson said.

“But because she is doing so well in the stable I rang (owner) Sandy Tait and said she should run in the Festival.

“It is really good to have a mare of her quality in the stable and she is just thriving.”

Zanbagh was originally trained by Guy Walter who took her to seconds in the 2013 VRC Oaks and 2014 Australian Oaks.

After Walter’s sudden death in May last year, Zanbagh was sent to Patrick Payne at Ballarat but showed only glimpses of her earlier form.

“She was on the retired list and I was very surprised to get the call to train her,” Thompson said.

“It was a nice surprise and I couldn’t be happier.”

Thompson is also happy with Zanbagh’s stablemate Jiayuguan, who won her third race in Australia at Rosehill on Saturday.

The imported French mare could also race on Villiers Day with the Listed Christmas Cup (2400m) the target.

“She has gone to a new level now that she is up to 2400 metres,” Thompson said.

“Her three wins have all been over that distance. She took a while but the 2400 is what she needs.”


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