Zougotcha claims Group 1 Coolmore Classic

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The -trained (+220) has claimed her first Group 1 success, proving too strong for the fillies & mares in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at on Saturday.

It comes after a dominant return in the Group 2 Millie Fox Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill on February 24, with the form being franked last Saturday as went on to secure the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m).

She was a consistently firming favourite prior to the jump, opening as much as +350 with top horse racing bookmakers, and punters would've been confident given the way the race panned out.

Group 1 Surround Stakes (1400m) winner (1400m) was quick to launch across from the wide draw to take up the running, while the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained (+1300) kept her honest to the outside.

Jennilala (+900) got into a perfect stalking position behind the leading pair, while was able to hold a one-off position three pairs back aboard Zougotcha prior to the turn.

Semana (+1100) was luckless and had to make a long-sustained run three-wide with 600m to travel, meanwhile the Gary Portelli-trained three-year-old Kimochi (+900) showed a strong turn-of-foot when urged along by Zac Lloyd.

It was a three-way go to the wire, though, as Zougotcha got the head down where it mattered most, with Semana and Kimochi filling out the minor money.

The win makes it back-to-back Coolmore Classic wins for the Chris Waller barn after was victorious in last year's edition, and he was on course to praise the resurgence of his mare.

“It was good. Very rewarding, simple as that,” said Waller.

“We tried to make her sprint and she just wasn't quite that type of model. But put her in a few extra hundred metres and that's the difference.

“She was brilliant first-up and she carried the top weight in a good field today and beat them.

“She would probably progress to a . If she gets too much weight via a re-handicap we'd go to the fillies and mares race ( Stakes) on the last day (of The Championships) which would be easier than a Doncaster.”

James McDonald notched up Group 1 win number 90 aboard Zougotcha and was quick to joke about his luck at the barriers before crediting his mare.

“Lucky for those good barriers I keep drawing, hey,” joked McDonald.

“Fantastic. It's well documented last preparation didn't go to plan but trained a little bit differently, he (Waller) is a genius, he stretched her work out and kept her a happy horse and she's done the rest.

“That was a good horse's weight. We're talking like Sunlines and those types of horses that have carried obviously a little bit more than her but still a proper horse's weight and she had to lug it out a fair way on testing ground. I couldn't be more proud of her.”

Zougotcha is now listed as a +1000 chance in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) on April 6.

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