Ugo Foscolo’s all-the-way win in Saturday’s New Zealand 2000 Guineas meant plenty to his Cambridge trainer, Stephen Marsh.
But it meant even more to the Wigleys at Inglewood Stud in North Canterbury.
Ugo Foscolo provided Marsh, of Cambridge, with his second group 1 success in New Zealand as a solo trainer. His first at the top level was with Ruud Awakening in the 2013 Diamond Stakes, and he won two group 1s when training with his father, Bruce.
For Gus Wigley, however, Ugo Foscolo’s win was the biggest tick yet for the stud’s stallion Zacinto.
"With Zacinto, we wanted a stallion that could leave a good 2yr-old, leave a Guineas horse in the spring and have something that would go on and perhaps run in a Derby in the autumn," a grinning Wigley said.
"I think we’re going to have exactly that with him. To have that in his first crop — well, we’re pinching ourselves."
The gelding and jockey Michael Coleman set up a strong tempo in front and understandably started to tire in the last 100m of the 1600m classic but held off the late finish of Savile Row.
"I normally yell in the last 50m of the race, but Stephen and Troy Harris started yelling at the straight so I joined in and made a complete idiot of myself," Wigley said.
"It was heart-in-mouth stuff but really exciting. Great for Zacinto and great for the stud. It’s the first group 1 since Bianca and I took over the stud."
The couple took up the running of the stud from Wigley’s parents, Nick and Carol, in 2012 and the acquisition of Zacinto — a son of one of the world’s top sires, Dansili — is looking like a master stroke, not only for the stud but for the South Island breeding scene.
"Just this week I was sitting on the tractor, harrowing, and your mind starts to drift and you imagine things but you don’t dare dream something like this would happen," Wigley said.
"It’s huge. It’s our iconic race on our back doorstep and to have a locally bred horse win it in front of our home crowd is pretty special."
While Zacinto’s book is already full for this season, Wigley expects the win to have an impact as early as next week before ramping up at the Karaka sales early next year.
"It’s nice heading into the yearling sales and for the people taking them [the progeny of Zacinto] to the sales, and for the ready-to-run next week," he said.
Ugo Foscolo was a $50,000 purchase at the 2015 sales for bloodstock agent Bruce Perry on behalf of part-owner Lib Petagna, and carried the same colours in Saturday’s win as Atlante, who won the Guineas for Petagna in 2013.
"Those colours of Lib Petagna, bought by Bruce Perry yet again — they’re just magic. I’d like to put them on a few more horses," Marsh said.
"He ran out a strong mile — they weren’t loitering early. We might not have wanted 1650m, but he did the job.
"It’s just an awesome result, especially being down here in the South Island. It’s awesome for South Island breeding. He’s a very good stallion."
There you go . . . Jockey Michael Coleman punches the air in triumph as his mount, Ugo Foscolo, wins the New Zealand 2000 Guineas at Riccarton on Saturday.