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Inglewood Stud celebrate 2000 Guineas success for stallion

Inglewood Stud's Gus Wigley has a word of warning for punters. Dismiss Zacinto's daughter, Zigwig in the Gr.1 1000 Guineas at your peril.

Still elated after Ugo Foscolo became Zacinto's first group one winner when he claimed the Sothys 2000 Guineas at Riccarton on Saturday, Gus said the filly, trained by his father Nick was on target for next Saturday.

It wasn't the aftermath of celebrations speaking either as partying was put on hold while Wigley was in Guy Fawkes avoidance mode on Saturday night.

"We got a call to say there were going to be fireworks about 50 metres from a paddock where we had dry mares," he explained. "We must've moved 80 mares."

The following day Gus had time to reflect on the success of the Inglewood Stud product and what it meant to the industry.

"It was a big day for South Island breeding, someone said that they thought the last South Island bred to win the 2000 Guineas would've been Random Chance," he said.

"We had a lot of our clients there and it was a big thrill, was neat to see the smiles."

Ugo Foscolo is from Zacinto's first crop and was the first live foal from three-time winning Stravinsky mare Bequests. A graduate of the 2015 NZ Bloodstock select sale he was purchased by Bruce Perry Bloodstock for $50,000 out of the Inglewood Stud draft.

Bequests was among five mares Gus and his father Nick purchased at the Sydney Easter Broodmare sale.

"She was the first one we bought but she has had a bit of a chequered breeding career," Gus explained.

"She had slipped the year before we bought her and we bought her in foal to Starcraft but she lost that foal. Then she had Ugo, missed the next year and then, the full sister to Ugo had a heart attack and died in the paddock."

Things started to look up again though when Bequests foaled a "strapping Sacred Falls filly on the weekend Ugo Foscolo won the Sarten Memorial."

While his dam has had her ups and downs, obtaining Ugo Foscolo's sire was very much a labour of love for Gus Wigley.

"Most of the ones we had been shown had already been shown to other people first though," Gus said.

"So, I have a subscription to Arion pedigrees and decided to do my own research."

Over a period of three months, Gus delved into the pedigrees and racing performances of 600 horses around the world, coming up with a short-list of eight.

Topping that list was Zacinto.

"He was a fantastic racehorse, a group two winner but group one class with a Timeform rating of 126," he said.

Thinking he had found his horse Gus contacted Juddmonte Farm at the end of the horse's four-year-old season, only to discover that they shared his opinion of the horse being up to elite class. They had plans for his five year old season and they didn't include a stud career in New Zealand.

Not to be deterred Gus kept watching Zacinto's progress while at the same time continuing his search. Each stallion he examined though was measured against Zacinto. Fortunately for Inglewood Stud and the Wigleys, Zacinto's attitude on the racetrack proved his mind was on other things.

"I watched him race and he was swishing his tail and eyeing the fillies, so I rang the stud the day after the race," Gus explained.

Zacinto was on the market and they were welcome to make an offer. But of course, things weren't that simple.

"We made four offers," Gus said. "After the third offer the bank manager had had enough as we tried to stretch things so I went to Windsor Park and had a chat with Rod Schick."

Sharing the Wigleys' enthusiasm for the son of Dansili, Windsor Park agreed to buy a quarter of the horse if Inglewood could find someone to take another quarter. Gus approached Valachi Downs' Kevin Hickman who became the other shareholder.

Hickman's loyalties were tested on Saturday though. Not only does he share in the ownership of Ugo Foscolo and Zacinto, but Savile Row, wearing his gold colours, chased Ugo Foscolo home in the group one feature.

Come Saturday and the running of the Gr.1 1000 Guineas and without a runner on his own account he will no doubt be in the Zigwig camp as Zacinto attempts to notch his second group one winner. – NZ Racing Desk


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