Zougotcha heads wide-open Coolmore Classic field

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A strong field of 18 fillies and mares will duke it out for the A$600,000 on offer in Saturday’s Group 1 Coolmore Classic at Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, Australia.

Amongst the field are four last-start winners and four Group 1 winners, and with 13 of the 18 runners having a handicap rating of +100, the 2023 edition of the Coolmore looks to be as good as any in previous years.

Online bookmakers are struggling to find a decisive favourite for the 1500m event, with the Flight Stakes winner from the spring, Zougotcha, opening as a +550 market elect with Kerrin McEvoy booked for the ride.

Regular jockey James McDonald has hopped off Zougotcha in favour of Hinged, who steps back from solid showings behind Anamoe at weight-for-age level in the Apollo Stakes and then the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes.

Having been denied by the barest of margins in the Group 1 Surround Stakes as Sunshine In Paris snatched victory, Ruthless Dame is back searching for a maiden Group 1 title and has Daniel Gibbons in the saddle.

The Mick Price & Michael Kent Jnr-trained Annavisto will make the trip north having easily disposed of her rivals in the Group 3 Frances Tressady Stakes at Flemington on February 18, but the Reliable Man mare – steered by Nash Rawiller – will need to overcome barrier 16 in an attempt to break her Group 1 maiden.

Hope In Your Heart was an eye-catching winner of the Group 2 Guy Walter Stakes and will be looking to follow the likes of Krone (2021), Con Te Partiro (2020) and Peeping (2016), who all used the Guy Walter as a lead-up run before going on to take out the Coolmore Classic.

Larkspur Run, Mustang Valley, More Prophets, Yearning and Mirra Vision are the other runners coming through the traditional lead-up event and will be out to turn the tables on Hope In Your Heart.

Imports Purplepay and Times Square add further intrigue to what is a wide-open edition of the Coolmore Classic.

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