Zougotcha returns a winner in Group 2 Millie Fox Stakes

Zougotcha Millie Fox Stakes
Zougotcha overpowers Lady Laguna to claim the Group 2 Millie Fox Stakes. Photo: RacingNSW

Chris Waller and James McDonald have combined with Zougotcha (+340) proving a class above in the Group 2 Millie Fox Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill on Saturday afternoon.

The daughter of Zoustar made it a winner return on Saturday after 154 days off the scene, but on the back of two strong barrier trials, has seemingly recapture her best form after a lacklustre campaign.

It’s the first time the now four-year-old has claimed victory since the Group 3 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) in March of last year, and since being first-up into the preparation, the upside moving forward is clear to see.

It was a perfect steer by James McDonald, taking the reins aboard Zougotcha for the ninth time in his career, gaining the back of race favourite Lady Laguna (+130) as she was on the brink of her fourth straight win.

Madame Pommery (+1000) was able to pass a pre-race vet inspection after looking to ping the lids early, eventually gaining a lovely sit in transit just in behind the speed, while Vienna Princess (+600) ran on gallantly after taking a mid-field position.

As the race went on though, it became clear Zougotcha had her fellow mares covered, and went on to score comfortably on the wire.

2024 Group 2 Millie Fox Stakes Replay – Zougotcha

It chalked up career win number six for the Chris Waller-trained galloper, as he spoke with media giving his post-race assessment of his horse, but also how he handled her last preparation.

“I just had her in the wrong races, as simple as that,” admitted Waller.

“I put her in 1100ms first-up and it was too short, today is 1300m. Second-up last prep she was in (over) 1200m and it was too short.

“We tried to make her into a sprinter, she is obviously a Group One mile winner. We tried to get her to an Everest and it backfired.

“She will take improvement from today’s run and there is the Coolmore (Classic) in a few weeks’ time and perhaps a Doncaster.”

James McDonald praised his mount in the aftermath as well, happy to see Zougotcha returning to winning ways.

“I was happy to see the favourite (Lady Laguna) in front,” said McDonald.

“It gave us a lovely cart up and she dug deep my filly, she’s a nice mare.

“She was really good. She jumped and travelled well, this prep has been much better. Doing things right and she’s enjoying her racing.

“Trained with a good target in mind with the Coolmore Classic, 1500m home track is really going to suit her. That’s what we wanted to see, she can do it at home really really well.”

Zougotcha has firmed into an equal second-favourite for the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) and is currently a +700 chance with online bookmakers.

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