The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Another brilliant ride by hoop of the moment James McDonald saw the Chris Waller-trained filly Zougotcha wrap up the Princess Series in Sydney with a big win in the 2022 Flight Stakes at Royal Randwick.
The one-time favourite had eased out to over $4 at time of jump, but was absolutely dominant powering home to take out the Group 1 $750,000 Flight Stakes (1600m) by two lengths.
The airborne daughter of Zoustar made it a hat-trick after her lead-up victories in the Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m) and Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) this campaign.
Powerful in her first test at a mile, the filly flew over the Heavy going on Epsom Day and was far too good for her rivals once again.
Jockey James McDonald got the eventual Flight Stakes winner into a lovely position third the fence throughout where she got a charmed run tucked behind the front-running North Star Lass who was first into stride to lead.
Another daughter of Zoustar, the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Furious Stakes winner North Star Lass held a narrow lead onto the turn for home.
Anthony Cummings’ Group 1 Champagne Stakes winner at the track and distance from the autumn, She’s Extreme, peeled out on the straight to challenge.
McDonald meanwhile kept to the inside on Zougotcha and it was a one-act affair along the rails as the filly raced away to win comprehensively.
“She’s a star. She’s come on, her work during the week she’s been superb, she’s blossomed. She’s a really good filly, she adapted to the conditions well. She did her job,” McDonald said.
She’s Extreme got up into second, while North Star Lass held for a brave third having done all the early work in the lead.
“Very proud of her (She’s Extreme) today. You’ll notice she sort of came into the straight very well but just as I pulled my stick through to my right, she just scrambles a little bit for two or three strides. I went from thinking I was a real good chance of winning to just battling on to run second but she showed her toughness. The winner was too good for us today, full credit to it,” Tommy Berry said after riding the runner-up.
Gary Portelli’s Golden Slipper winning filly Fireburn ran a somewhat flat fourth having failed to let down on the straight.
The Flight Stakes results saw McDonald post his 68th Group 1 winning ride and his second in the race for Waller after the 2019 victory by Funstar.
For Waller it was his incredible 138th Group 1 success.
Waller was quick to rule out a trip south for Zougotcha for the Group 1 $1 million Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on Wednesday October 12 instead opting to save the filly for a big autumn campaign in 2023.
“The thing you don’t really know about horses is where is the ceiling? If you look after them they look after you. So I would say that will be her last run of the spring,” he said.
“We had a pretty short run up from the winter in Queensland so we don’t need to find out where the end is. We will give her a bit of a break and look forward to the autumn.
“(She’s a ) true professional. No negative body language. She’s just a happy horse.”
2022 Flight Stakes Results & Finishing Order
|1||3||ZOUGOTCHA||Chris Waller||James McDonald||2||56kg||$4.20|
|2||2||SHE’S EXTREME||Anthony Cummings||Tommy Berry||2L||5||56kg||$5|
|3||4||NORTH STAR LASS||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Tim Clark||2.27L||8||56kg||$12|
|4||1||FIREBURN||Gary Portelli||Brenton Avdulla||4.41L||9||56kg||$2.40F|
|5||7||PAVITRA||Richard & Will Freedman||Kerrin McEvoy||7.47L||4||56kg||$51|
|6||6||MADAME POMMERY||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||7.6L||6||56kg||$13|
|7||8||RENAISSANCE WOMAN (NZ)||Bjorn Baker||Ms Rachel King||7.89L||3||56kg||$61|
|8||5||WOLVERINE (NZ)||Kris Lees||Jason Collett||9.43L||1||56kg||$8.50|
|9||9||BYRON BELLE||John Sargent||William Pike||12.96L||10||56kg||$101|
|10||10||WHISKER TO WHISKER||John Thompson||Chad Schofield||17.28L||7||56kg||$101|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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