Zihba sets up Classic tilt with Amethyst Stakes success

Irish Guineas the next target

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Zihba booked his ticket to the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas later in the month when maintaining his unbeaten record in the Amethyst Stakes at Leopardstown.

Having posted a brace of victories on the all-weather at Dundalk, the Fozzy Stack-trained three-year-old made an instant impact on his switch to turf as he defeated his elders in the Group Three contest.

Travelling well throughout the mile prize, the 5-2 favourite, a son of Footstepsinthesand, showed a good turn of foot during the closing stages to run out a clear-cut length-and a-half winner.

Following the race the winner was halved in price to 8-1 for the Irish Guineas by Paddy Power.

Stack said: “It is not easy beating those older horses, but he was getting the weight and he did it well.

“I’m sure we will line up in the 2,000 Guineas. Whether he is good enough or not, we will see.

“He wants fast ground and we’ve kind of waited for it. We thought about going for the Tetrarch or the Craven, but this is where we ended up coming in the end.

He added: “He works smart. He has always pleased us.”

Winning rider Chris Hayes said: “It is a fair ask for a three-year-old to do that against hardened horses. I probably got to the front a fraction too soon on him, but he dug it out very well.

“I think he’ll improve for that fitness wise and mentally, as it was his first run on grass.

“I like him. He doesn’t quicken away and put daylight between horses, but he doesn’t have to. He’ll be a good ride in an Irish Guineas.”

Zihba sets up Classic tilt with Amethyst Stakes success
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