James Ferguson enjoyed a day to remember at Newbury as Zoetic provided him with the biggest winner of his career in the Unibet St Hugh’s Fillies’ Stakes.
The 30-year-old, who took out his training licence only in October, was all smiles as the Kodiac filly followed up her Wolverhampton success when staying on strongest of all in testing conditions to claim the Listed prize.
Having been anchored at the rear of the field for much of the five-furlong contest, the 16-1 shot steadily worked her way into contention under champion jockey Oisin Murphy before bursting clear late on to defeat Fairy Dust by three-quarters of a length.
Ferguson said: “I can’t believe it. The team at home have done a fantastic job.
“She is an absolutely brilliant filly and has been progressive with every single run. I think Oisin has given her a brilliant ride, and she has relished the soft ground.
“I couldn’t be more grateful to everyone that is involved and the owners that have supported me in my first year. It is immense.
“Things have gone much better than expected. You can’t expect to start this well. We’ve just got to keep going on and try keep the momentum rolling.”
Zoetic had to turn the tables on her Sandown conqueror Miss Jingles, but her Newmarket trainer was confident she deserved to take her place in the line-up.
He added: “We finished behind Miss Jingles at Sandown – and the filly that was behind her at Sandown, Ventura Diamond (fourth), went and won at Goodwood.
“We were confident she was a nice filly. That run gave us the confidence to know that, even though we weren’t that highly-rated, we had to give it a go here.”
Despite Zoetic appearing to handle the soft conditions Ferguson revealed it was only after a chat with Classic-winning rider Murphy that he made the call to let her take her chance.
He added: “She has run on every sort of ground. To be honest, I was a bit worried about running, so I’m going to do as I’m told from now on!
“I had a chat with Oisin, and he was comfortable to go, and he knows the filly well enough.”
Having started her career over six furlongs, Zoetic may be stepped back up to that trip on her next start – although plans remain fluid.
Ferguson said: “I think she could easily go back to six.
“She was very keen early in her career – but now she settles she could easily go six. I’ve nothing in mind for her at the moment, though.”