Zardozi claims Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes

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has shown dramatic improvement second-up to secure victory in the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) at on Saturday.

The Group 1 (2500m) winner has bounced back from a luckless first-up performance in the Group 1 Surround Stakes (1400m) a fortnight ago, recapturing her elite best to return to the winners' circle in dominant fashion.

Tom Marquand headed straight to the rear of the field aboard the daughter of Kingman, allowing his filly to stride freely with cover throughout the journey, while the Gai & Adrian Bott-trained pair of Les Vampires (+240) and Raf Attack (+1100) ensured a genuinely run affair.

They ran along at a solid clip throughout, allowing Makarena (+300) to slot into the one-one throughout under Tim Clark, while the Chris Waller-trained Saltcoats disappointed with the run of the race mid-field with cover.

The leading pair faded quickly when the whips were cracking, leaving the James Cummings-trained filly to swallow up her rivals along the inside to a visually impressive victory.

Makarena was gallant in defeat, applying well as always, while Kintyre (+600) was able to fill out the trifecta spot.

It was all honours to the winner in the end, however, as Zardozi looks back on track for more Group 1 success later in the season.

James Cummings spoke to media for back-to-back races after saluted in the Group 3 (1100m) and was glowing about his filly.

“She is a class act,” said Cummings.

“You've got to be prepared to forgive her for her first-up effort, there was a lot that went against her.

“And yet she pulled up from the run well, she has trained on sweetly since then so we stuck to our guns.

“The Phar Lap is a perfect race for her as a stepping stone to the Vinery (Stud Stakes) and now she gets back to 2000 in a couple of weeks, she is going to look spot-on.”

Cummings was then asked about the potential clash with star filly Orchestral.

“That will be interesting,” said Cummings.

“She is a good filly Orchestral.

“You can't have a short memory, you've only got to open up the replays from October and see what she was doing in the spring.

“It was a big effort in the Wakeful to run second, a sweet effort in the Manifold before that but the win in the Group One VRC Oaks was pretty special. That was the win of a filly that had top-class Group One ability and that's the way this filly is headed.”

Tom Marquand has returned to riding feature winners in Australia and credited team Godolphon on his pre-race instructions paying dividends.

“She was (good),” said Marquand.

“I won't take any credit for that one. That was James (Cummings) and Darren's (Beadman) masterplan and all I did was jump out of the stalls and execute what they were saying they thought would work.

“She's proven she's a very good filly before. She didn't need to step up on what she's been doing in the past to do that.

“She had her return run the other week and things didn't go to plan. We got knocked wide and she obviously needed that reappearance run and things to go her way and that masterplan was the difference today, with her being able to get down the inside and then explode through.”

Zardozi is now clear on the second line of betting at +400 for the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) on March 30.

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