Coolmore Task Not Beyond Zougotcha

The Chris Waller stable is under no illusions about the job ahead of class mare Zougotcha in Saturday’s Group 1 $1m Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill but history says 57kg is a mountain she is more than capable of climbing.

No mare has carried more than 57kg to victory in the race since Sunline’s 2002 success under 60kg but three have managed to win with 57kg in that time – Krone (2021), Daysee Doom (2018) and Steps In Time (2014).

Zougotcha was scratched from the Coolmore last year, won by stablemate Espiona, after drawing a wide gate and instead won the Phar Lap Stakes.

She posted her first success since then when she accounted for subsequent Canterbury Stakes winner Lady Laguna in the Millie Fox (1300m) three weeks ago.

Waller’s racing manager Charlie Duckworth said the stable is well represented in the Coolmore with four runners and it’s hard not to consider the top weight tough to beat given her first-up win and recent form upgrade.

“The form is good from her first-up run with the horse that finished second winning the Group 1 on Saturday,’’ Duckworth said.

“She’s absolutely flying.

“She’s come back bigger, better, and stronger this time in and she’s going to take a bit of beating but 57kg in a Group 1 handicap is a lot of weight.”

The four-year-old is searching for her second Group 1, having taken the Flight Stakes at three, and she showed in the Millie Fox she’s bounced back from a disappointing spring, where the stable experimented with seeing if she could be an Everest horse.

“She had a tough autumn and came back around and we were behind the eight ball all the way through the prep,’’ Duckworth said.

“Chris touched on it after she won last start that in her previous preparation we raced her over too short and as a result she was basically a run behind.”

There’s a strong support cast behind Zougotcha as Waller aims for successive Coolmore wins with Madame Pommery and Vienna Princess coming out of running third and fourth respectively in the Millie Fox and Hinged backing up after a narrow defeat in the Guy Walter last week.

The barrier gods have favourited Zougotcha and Vienna Princess but Duckworth said each mare has good credentials to perform in the Coolmore under the right circumstances.

“In the last year her form has really improved, she’s come a long way,’’ Duckworth said of Vienna Princess.

“Hinged is a fantastic race mare, she’s a Group 1 winner and been placed at the highest level many times during her career, and Madame Pommery’s first-up run was fantastic.

“We’re really excited leading into a Group 1, four live chances with four top jockeys on board.”

Zougotcha, with James McDonald riding, was $4 favourite with TAB on Wednesday.

– Racing NSW

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