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ZOUOLOGIST STRIKES FIRST-UP FOR TEAM VIGOUROUX

THURSDAY: March 19, 2020: KEN Quigley was chuffed.

The popular Hawkesbury Race Club chairman is part of a syndicate which gained an instant return with today’s Newcastle winner Zouologist.

And to put the icing on the cake, the four-year-old is trained by his daughter and son-in-law Tara and Phillipe Vigouroux.

Because of the crowd restrictions imposed as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic, Quigley couldn’t be trackside at Broadmeadow to see Zouologist ($13) land the Class 2 Handicap (1200m) at his first start for his new connections.

But it mattered little to the HRC chairman.

“It’s a great start for our syndicate,” a delighted Quigley said.

“I think Zouologist is a horse we are going to have a lot of fun with. He could develop into a nice country Cups type.

“We were given the opportunity earlier in the year to lease him, and put a syndicate together to seal the deal.

“He looked a good prospect because he won his maiden in Sydney and had also run five placings in town.

“Tara and Phil will most likely not race him again for a few weeks, and he’s still eligible for another Class 2.”

Previously prepared by Sydney’s master trainer Chris Waller, Zouologist was having only his 11th start today.

Ridden by Chad Lever, he finished strongly to defeat Montserrat ($4) and Titus ($9), with the $1.90 favorite Gio a struggling eighth.

Zouologist won his maiden at Warwick Farm in April last year, and last raced for Waller on New Year’s Day when seventh to Dalmatia Prince in a Benchmark 70 Handicap (1550m) on the Kensington track.

“Tara and Phil gave him a few weeks off when we first got him, and then put him back into work,” Quigley explained.

“Zouologist has been working with some of their better horses, and has worked strongly.

“We were quietly confident he would run well first-up.”

. Zouologist’s win gave Team Vigouroux its seventh victory of the current season, meaning the co-trainers are currently the second most successful at Hawkesbury behind Brad Widdup (23 wins).

. Hawkesbury has two representatives in Saturday’s fourth $150,000 Provincial Championships Qualifier (1400m) at Kembla Grange.

Daniel Robinson runs Karmazone (Shaun Guymer), luckless when fourth in the Hawkesbury qualifier on March 7, and Mitch Newman has Piping Roller (Winona Costin), an impressive Newcastle winner for Hugh Bowman on March 6.