Leading trainer Chris Waller convinced connections earlier this year that Zougotcha was an ideal filly for the Darley Princess Series, and after a triumph in the first leg of the prestigious series, connections, especially the fillies breeders, were rewarded.
On Saturday, 20 August at Royal Randwick in Sydney, Waller was proved right when Zougotcha won the G2 Silver Shadow Stakes over 1,200m - the first of four legs in a series which was first run in 1985.
The series is a favourite for breeders, specifically for three-year-old fillies and run under set weights and penalty conditions at the start of the breeding season.
It has been won by some of Australia’s top fillies but only two have swept the series - Angst in 1993 and Samantha Miss 15 years later.
Antony Thompson bred Zougotcha, by Zoustar out of Fast Talker, at Widden Stud and he took particular delight as he and Robert Smith remain in the ownership of the filly.
“Rob is a long-term client and a great friend of ours,” Thompson said.
“It’s a great thrill for he and I to be involved in the ownership.
“Chris Waller has done a superb job with her, he’s alway had a very high opinion of her.
“He always picked out the Princess Series, even early days he said this was where she could measure up and he was spot on.”
Breeders, this one’s for you!— Darley in Australia (@DarleyAus) August 20, 2022
Congratulations to G2 #Darley Silver Shadow Stakes winner Zougotcha 👏🏼
Bred by @widdenstud and Rma Bloodstock Trust, who will receive a nomination to four-time G1 winner #Ghaiyyath 🏆#DarleyPrincessSeries
The additional incentive and ultimate victory for owners Antony Thompson of Widden Stud and Robert Smith, is that being the breeders of talented filly Zougotcha, they are also receive a free nomination to Darley’s four-time G1-winning World Champion Ghaiyyath.
Ghaiyyath, who is standing his second northern hemisphere season at Darley Northwood Park, was a record-breaking two-year-old who posted three of the top four Timeform performances in 2020 and has rightfully earned the status of the best-ever son of the great Dubawi.
🙌 Good luck to the trainers, owners and breeders of today's G2 Darley Silver Shadow Stakes @aus_turf_club!— Darley in Australia (@DarleyAus) August 19, 2022
The winning breeder of this race will receive a nomination to the highest-rated horse in the world, #Ghaiyyath 👇
🔵 https://t.co/cFnygxWvSw pic.twitter.com/DnaQcloGfe
Managing director Vin Cox said Darley was proud to join with the Australian Turf Club for the fourth year to turn the spotlight on the fillies, especially at the start of the stud season.
“We’ re keen to support black-type and, specifically, Group racing to reward the breeders who achieve significant milestones,’’ he said.
The G2 Furious Stakes (1,200m), carrying $250,000 in prize money, is the second leg of the series and carries a service to the undefeated G1-winning two-year-old, Victor Ludorum.
It’s scheduled for Saturday, 3 September before the fillies step up to 1,400m on 17 September for the G2 Tea Rose Stakes, worth $250,000 and offering a service to Champion Two-Year-Old Earthlight.
The 2022 series culminates with the running of the $750,000 Flight Stakes at G1 level over 1,600m on Saturday, 1 October, with a service to the five-time G1 winner and three-time Champion Palace Pier in the offing for the fillies breeders.