James Ferguson exited to pitch Zoetic into Group One company at Newmarket

Wed 23 Sep 2020

Fledgling trainer James Ferguson will saddle his first Group One runner when Zoetic lines up in Saturday’s Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket.

Ferguson, who was Charlie Appleby’s assistant for three years at Godolphin, only took out a licence at the end of 2019, but has made great strides in the interim.

With 15 winners on the board already at an impressive strike-rate of over 20 per cent, the Newmarket handler has made an impressive start and in Zoetic he has found a first headline horse with a Listed win already in the bag.

Zoetic bolted up in a Listed contest at Newbury last time out

“She’s an intended runner – my first in a Group One, so it’s hugely exciting,” said Ferguson.

“The way she won the St Hugh’s at Newbury, I think she thoroughly deserves to take her chance at the highest level.

“She’s been winning over five furlongs, but we actually started her off over six because she relaxes so well at home. First time out at Kempton, she was keen, which was the last thing I was expecting.

“There was a sign of that at Doncaster as well, so we dropped her back to five as she was using too much energy too early. She’s growing up now though and in three runs since she’s relaxing.

“At Newbury, Oisin dropped her out at the back which I thought was beautiful to see as she relaxes so well, which is how she is at home.

“William Buick will ride as Andrew Balding has first pick on Oisin, so he’s on Alcohol Free. Me and William go back a long way – we worked very closely together at Godolphin when I was Charlie’s assistant for three years and there’s no one I’d rather turn to.

“I didn’t think we’d be having Group One runners this early in my career, so it’s a credit to the yard and to the owners for giving us the opportunity to do it. If we don’t get another for a while, we’re going to enjoy it.”

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