Tribute to Zabeel, 1986-2015

Multiple Champion Sire Zabeel, foaled on the day of Bonecrusher’s 1986 Cox Plate victory, died at the age of 29 on 25 September at Sir Patrick & Lady Hogan’s Cambridge Stud with many tributes and honours deservedly heaped upon him. 

The Group 1-winning son of Sir Tristram and Lady Giselle was bred by Swettenham Stud’s joint venture bloodstock partnership with Arrowfield Stud – which is why Zabeel carried the Jockey Cap over Diamonds brand.

Trained by Colin and later David Hayes for Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Zabeel won seven of his 19 starts including the 1600-metre VRC Australian Guineas G1 and Craiglee S. G2 during a three-season, $1.1 million career.

He retired to Cambridge Stud in 1991 and made an immediate impact with Jack & Bob Ingham’s champion colt & 1996 Horse of the Year Octagonal in his first crop. However, it was not until 1997 that Zabeel’s star really began to rise. 

That year began for Zabeel with a sensational sequence of  six Group 1 victories over six weeks by Octagonal and his year-younger brother Mouawad. 

Then a 3YO gelding named Might And Power emerged from Jack Denham’s stable to run second in Intergaze’s track record-setting Canterbury Guineas G1, and fourth in Ebony Grosve’s Australian Derby G1 before an eye-catching victory in the Frank Packer Plate G3 on 5 April.

4YO Cronus added the Adelaide Cup in May and Zabeel ended the 1996/97 season with the second of what would eventually be 15 Dewar Stallion Trophy awards, for the New Zealand-based sire with the highest Australasian earnings.

It was like the cork popping out of a bottle of the best champagne, which flowed freely over the next dozen years. During the 1997/98 season Might And Power won the Caulfield-Melbourne Cup double and three other Group 1 races, sealing the Australian Horse of the Year title that he would claim again the following year after winning the 1998 Cox Plate.

He wasn’t alone. Dignity Dancer, Sky Heights & Zonda, Champagne, Inaflury & Zacheline added 10 Group 1 victories by the end of the 1998/99 season, Bezeal Bay won the VRC Emirates S. G1 and Jezabeel became the only horse to win the Auckland-Melbourne Cup double. 

They all helped Zabeel win the 1998 & 1999 Australian General Sires’ Premierships, the last New Zealand-based sire to do so, and in both seasons defeating Danehill at the peak of his long Australian ascendancy.  

Zabeel’s legendary status was secure well before his death, thanks to 27 stallion titles, 44 Group 1 winners among 156 stakeswinners (8.2% of his named foals, 10.5% of his runners), more than $180 million prizemoney, 26 Group 1 winners from his exceptional broodmare daughters (including Samantha Miss by Redoute’s Choice, and Arrowfield’s young sire Dundeel), eleven $1 million-dollar yearlings, a champion sire son in Savabeel and a champion sire grandson, Lonhro.

Zabeel has been laid to rest alongside his champion sire Sir Tristram at Cambridge Stud while his dam Lady Giselle, who died in 2003, is buried in the Arrowfield graveyard.

Peeping wins the Pendant

Tom Kelly’s 4YO mare Peeping became the 78th Group winner by champion sire Redoute’s Choice when she scored a decisive victory in Saturday’s $400,000 $ATC Golden Pendant S. 1400m G2.

Her last-start failure due to cardiac arrythmia cast some doubts over Peeping’s chances, but she was presented in perfect order and performed accordingly. She bounced out smartly and settled back fourth, on the outside of last year’s Golden Pendant winner Arabian Gold, while Two Blue set the pace up front.

Jockey Sam Clipperton hooked Peeping out on the turn and shook her up at the 300-metre mark, with the favourite Catkins behind her. She engaged with a tenacious Two Blue and found plenty to pull away for a three-quarter-length victory in 1:23.07 with Berry Delicious a determined third, 1.25 lengths further back. 

Watch Peeping’s Golden Pendant G2 win

Peeping’s biggest win to date takes her record to five wins, including last season’s ATC Darby Munro S. LR, three placings and $473,785 from 10 starts. The ATC Angst S. G3 on 10 October is her likely next start and trainer Ron Quinton indicated she will also be around for Autumn. 

Peeping’s dual Group-winning dam Miss Marielle (by Encosta De Lago) also has a 2YO colt by Redoute’s Choice, purchased for $475,000 from the Newhaven Park draft at the 2015 Inglis Easter Sale.  Named France, he will race in the ownership of the China Horse Club, Horse Ventures, Newgate Farm & Tom Kelly.

Newhaven Park added a second new Group performer to its illustrious record when the Luke Price-trained 3YO gelding Man Of Choice (by Encosta De Lago’s son Manhattan Rain from Moonsong by Redoute’s Choice) ran home staunchly for third in Vanbrugh’s ATC Gloaming S. 1800m G3.

The Redoute’s Choice/Encosta De Lago cross was also seen in the Morphettville winner’s circle on Saturday when Peter Katelanis’ home-bred 4YO mare Into The Mist (ex De Lago Mist) scored her third win from 7 starts.

Peeping is the fourth stakeswinner for Redoute’s Choice in the the first two months of the 2015/16 season, following Royal Descent (ATC Warwick S. G2), She’s Clean (Newcastle JC Tibbie S. G3) and Counterattack (ATC Heritage S. LR). He has now moved into second place on the Australian General Sires’ table, with earnings of $1.6 million.

No Long Faces around Grace

Syndicator Pacific Bloodstock hoped for a big showing from Long Face Grace at the first of Moonee Valley’s night meetings this season and that’s exactly what Manhattan Rain’s promising daughter delivered.

The 4YO mare stepped up to 1600 metres last Friday for the first time after her maiden win at Sandown last month and a second at Seymour on 9 September, both at 1400 metres. That form earned Long Face Grace favouritism in the Fillies & Mares Handicap which she justified with a narrow but strong win, defeating Billie Frechette by a half-head with 1.5 lengths further back to Bet You She Rocks.

Watch Long Face Grace win at Moonee Valley.

Out of the money only once in her six starts from the Mark Kavanagh stable, Long Face Grace was a $70,000 purchase by Pacific Bloodstock principal Mark Hoare from the 2013 Magic Millions draft of Ron & Deb Gilbert’s Highgrove Stud. 
The filly fitted Mark’s criteria. “I tend not to buy running two-year-olds, I prefer a bit of scope which she had and Mark [Kavanagh] liked her too.

“I liked Manhattan Rain given his pedigree and thought he had a chance, and of course, she had the Atlantic Jewel factor as well.”

Long Face Grace is the fifth foal of Retract (by Flying Spur), a city-winning half-sister to the dam of champion filly Atlantic Jewel and Group 1 winner Commanding Jewel.

However, things didn’t go smoothly for Long Face Grace during her early education, as Mark Hoare explains. “She was kicked in her paddock when she was being broken in and we nearly lost her. Mark and the stable have handled her very patiently, everything has been done at her pace and she’s starting to come into her own now.”

The next goal for Long Face Grace is the 1600-metre Ladies Day Vase G3, at Caulfield on 14 October but jockey Glen Boss, who has piloted the mare to both her wins, believes she will cope with 2000 metres and beyond as she progresses.

Manhattan Rain’s first crop has so far produced 36 winners including Group 2 winner Moonovermanhattan (also from a Flying Spur mare), Listed winners Manapine, Ondina, Crafty and Long Face Grace’s short-course sprinting stablemate Wild Rain.

Left of Centre today, Mainstream tomorrow

It is an interesting, but generally overlooked fact that last season the two best two-year-olds Vancouver, by Medaglia D’Oro (Golden Slipper) and Pride of Dubai, by Street Cry (Blue Diamond) are both by shuttle sires, neither of whom ever raced on turf.

This seems to fly in the face of conventional wisdom that only locally grown sires, proven in Australian conditions will succeed Down Under. Of course, perennial leaders such as Redoute’s Choice, Fastnet Rock, Snitzel and Lonhro are all outstanding home grown products.

But the continued racetrack success of the progeny of Street Cry, and the recent rise of Medaglia D’Oro, indicate that stallion success might be the combined result of many factors – not just where they were born or raced, or even the specific surface.

Successful stallions clearly need to be very good racehorses, they also need to have a prepotent x-factor and, most importantly, suit the gene pool here in Australia.

Therefore it is likely no coincidence that both Vancouver and Pride of Dubai are both out of Danehill mares.

Consider this, if Street Cry and Medaglia D’Oro were retiring to stud in Australia today a brief CV for them might read:

Street Cry, son of Machiavellian from a Troy mare, raced solely on dirt, won the Gr 1 Dubai World Cup 2000m as an older horse as well as the Gr 1 Stephen Foster over 1800m at Churchill Downs afterwards.

Medaglia D’Oro, son of El Prado from a Bailjumper mare, raced solely on dirt, ran in the US Triple Crown without winning, top older horse winning the Whitney and the Donn Handicaps both at 1800m and placing 2nd in the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Dubai World Cup over 2000m

So on paper both would be considered in the marketplace today very left of centre on pedigree, performance and profile. But they are both resounding successes. Why?

Firstly both are obviously prepotent, i.e they have that certain something, an X factor, which enables them to reproduce speed and class into their offspring at an above average rate. This is confirmed by the fact they have been major successes in both hemispheres.

But significantly, both also suit predominate female bloodlines available here in Australia – namely Danehill. In Street Cry’s case he has a whopping 23% SWs/Runners from Danehill mares including Pride Of Dubai and Melbourne Cup winner Shocking.

Medaglia D’Oro has an even more remarkable 33% SW/Runners from mares by Danehill or sons of Danehill including his two best horses Vancouver and Nostradamus.

But why do they suit the Danehill bloodlines?

Well, one opinion could be their outcross representation, and Danehill blood explodes when mixed with outcross blood, maybe because he was so inbred himself. (The converse is also true: inbreeding to Danehill has so far proved disappointing).

Secondly, they are a considerable physical variation that provides the size, scope and ultimately the stamina sometimes lacking with the typical Danehill type. Both were top class 2000m dirt horses, but bred to run on the turf and excel as older horses.

Street Cry emphatically won the Dubai World Cup – arguably the best 2000m race for older horses. The same race has been won by Singspiel and Dubai Millennium, and Medaglia D’Oro was a close second at the conclusion of a stellar career in 2004. Hence, the improving status of the Dubai World Cup as a “stallion-making” race.

Arrowfield bought Animal Kingdom to Australia, seemingly deviating from their previous well-trodden path to stallion success. Many breeders may ask, why? The answer lies in the nature of the stallion business: with such long lead times involved, one must be ahead of the curve and not following it. That is the reason Arrowfield bought Danehill in 1989, at a time when a son of Marscay may have been perceived a far more popular choice.

Arrowfield’s Jon Freyer says, “For some time it has been apparent to us the Australian market desperately needs an injection of new blood. So we began the search for a truly elite colt with a complete outcross pedigree, highly compatible with the very Danehill blood we introduced twenty five years ago. An outcross pedigree of its own was insufficient. World class racing ability was also necessary as the proof of the ‘genotype pudding’. In Animal Kingdom we believed we found that horse.”

Animal Kingdom has very similar credentials to both Street Cry and Medaglia D’Oro. His pedigree is an eclectic mix of the best bloodlines from all around the globe. His remarkable talent confirms the value of those bloodlines and his stunning versatility enhances the overall proposition. His bloodlines should also suit Danehill genetics admirably. His sire, the Champion miler Leroidesanimaux is from the immediate family of the leading European sire Dansili (by Danehill) who is himself a brother to no fewer than 4 major Group 1 winners, also by Danehill.

Animal Kingdom was a remarkable racehorse too. He won the Kentucky Derby at his first try on a dirt surface. This had never been done previously and in all likelihood will never happen again. In fact, his only starts on dirt were in the three Triple Crown races. He was unfortunate not to win the Triple Crown – with the unluckiest of Preakness runs, and injury struck during the Belmont.

After a nine month break Animal Kingdom ran second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile on turf in world record time to the subsequent Horse of the Year, Wise Dan. He then went on to win the stallion-making race, the Dubai World Cup, in a breeze, beating a stellar field.

The success of Street Cry and now Medaglia D’Oro has convinced Arrowfield their strategy is correct.

Maybe Animal Kingdom is the next big thing in Australia.

Arrowfield is more than happy to bet on it.

Arrowfield bred their Champion mare Miss Finland to Street Cry and have produced the highly promising filly Stay With Me. Miss Finland has subsequently produced a lovely filly by Animal Kingdom.

Slumber Party wideawake at 2YO Trials

The way Snitzel’s powerfully built daughter Slumber Party won her trial on Monday delighted her trainer, who saddled up two winners and a pair of placegetters at the Randwick 2YO Trials.

Gai Waterhouse commented on her website, “She has participated in every gallop, she has done all the work, and she has not missed a beat.

“This morning she was very much awake. She sprung the gates, sat outside the lead, cornered well, and then the daughter of leading stallion Snitzel powered away to win impressively. I like this filly a lot and I was confident she would run well this morning.”

Watch Slumber Party’s trial win.

Slumber Party was a $620,000 purchase by Waterhouse and American owner Jon Kelly from the Arrowfield draft at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale, and she is raced by Kelly in partnership with Paul Frampton.

Her dam is the juvenile winner Hokuspokus (by Red Ransom), a half-sister to a pair of stakes-winning 2YO fillies, Come Hither and Fun In Flight, from the notably precocious Easy Date family of Forensics, Snippets, Not A Single Doubt & Zizou.

Hokuspokus has a yearling colt by Animal Kingdom and foaled a colt by Dundeel just over three weeks ago.

Other Randwick 2YO trialists from the Waterhouse stable included the Arrowfield Inglis Easter graduate Piping Hot (More Than Ready-Ribe), who ran on well for fourth in the trial won by Desirable Miss, and Overreactive (Redoute’s Choice-Reactive), runner-up to Calliope in the fastest fillies’ trial of the morning.

Sixteen of Snitzel’s 32 stakeswinners have been successful in that company at two and he has been a top 5 Australian sire in that category for the past four years. This season he has more juvenile firepower than ever before, with 185 live foals in his 2013 crop.

First trial winner for Gio Ponti

Pearl Bloodstock’s 2YO filly Pearl Congenial, by US champion Gio Ponti, won her first trial at Cranbourne today. 

The Robert Smerdon-trained filly began smartly, took up the running with her ears pricked and needed only gentle encouragement from jockey Craig Williams to maintain her lead to the post. Pearl Congenial ran out the 800 metres in 49.31, finishing almost a half-length in front of Literate with Sweet Sherry third.

Watch Pearl Congenial’s trial win.

Pearl Congenial is the second foal of Congenial, a city winner by Redoute’s Choice from Group 2 winner Toast Of The Coast. Congenial was bought in foal to Gio Ponti for $85,000 by Westbury Stud from Arrowfield at the 2013 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale.

David Redvers purchased the yearling Pearl Congenial for $100,000 from the Newhaven Park draft at this year’s Inglis Easter Sale.

Gio Ponti (Tale of the Cat-Chipeta Springs by Alydar) has had three 2YO winners this year from his first US-bred crop, including stakes-placed filly Truly Ponti. He stands at Castleton Lyons in Kentucky.

Beneteau quinella at Sydney 2YO Trials

A Newcastle-trained pair of fillies have given notice that Beneteau’s second and final crop is set to match the impact made by his first runners last season.

Twist Tops made it look easy  in Trial 5 at the Randwick 2YO Trials, taking control of proceedings after 300 metres and railing up smoothly to race away by 2.8 lengths from Arrowfield graduate Jeanneau (ex North Sea by Hussonet), with another 5 lengths back to Bella Vino. The time of 49.09 was third-fastest of the morning’s 12 juvenile trials, all held over 838 metres.

Watch the Beneteau trial quinella.

Twist Tops was bred by Bob Hannon, also the breeder of dual Group 1 winner Shamus Award, and is trained by Kris Lees for a partnership including Bob’s son David.

The filly is out of the smart city winner Imtops (by High Rolling), a half-sister to the dam of Group 1 winner Irish Darling, herself the dam of 2YO stakeswinner and young sire Fighting Sun. All are descended from one of New Zealand’s best racemares of the 1970s, Battle Eve (25 wins).

Jeanneau was bred and offered by Arrowfield at the Inglis Classic Sale where trainer Paul Perry bought her for $170,000, the second highest price paid for a filly at the sale. Her dam, from the family of champion sire Storm Bird and his sister, champion Canadian filly Northernette, has a 3YO filly, American At Sea (by All American), and a yearling colt by Smart Missile.

Beneteau (by Redoute’s Choice) was second on last season’s Australian First Season Sires’ premiership by earnings, winners & wins, but died in January 2013, leaving only 135 live foals, 49 of them in his second crop.

Manhattan Rain's first Singapore winner

After three placings in his first four starts, Manhattan Rain’s 3YO son Marine Treasure broke through in determined style for his maiden win in Singapore on Friday evening.

Trainer Steven Burridge elected to bring the gelding back to 1200 metres after two thirds at 1400 metres and Marine Treasure responded with a steely performance to score by 1.5 lengths from What Iff and D’Buffalo Man in 1:10.32.

Watch Marine Treasure’s win at Kranji.

Marine Treasure was bred by Melbourne Polytechnic’s Northern Lodge Stud and sold initially as a yearling, then re-sold for $50,000 at the 2014 Magic Millions Horses in Training Sale to Singapore syndicator Premier Racing.

Like Manhattan Rain’s Group 2-winning son Moonovermanhattan (who was a good third over 1400 metres at Caulfield on Saturday), Marine Treasure is out of a Flying Spur mare, the Group-placed city winner Okaylah. This is the family of Melbourne stakeswinner The Big Chill, also placed in Group 1 company.

Marine Treasure is the first Singapore winner for Manhattan Rain, the sire of 10 stakes performers from his first two crops and fourth on last season’s Australian Second Season Sires’ list.

Not A Single Doubt's Caulfield double

Two weeks after winning his first stakes race at his Melbourne debut, Not A Single Doubt’s son Fell Swoop did it again, only this time he had to overcome a pre-race hold-up and a difficult run.

The 4YO gelding had to be re-plated before the $120,000 MRC Testa Rossa S. 1200m LR and the procedure unsettled him enough that he pulled his way forward to share the lead three wide heading into the turn.

Fell Swoop seemed to be under serious pressure at the 200-metre mark when Charlie Boy headed him, but he fought back grittily to win by a quarter-length from the game Charlie Boy, who was giving Fell Swoop 5.5 kg, with Java third. 

Watch Fell Swoop’s MRC Testa Rossa S. LR win.

Trainer Matthew Dale said, “Once he didn’t get cover and switch off, he was there to be beaten today. That was a massive run… to come back off the canvas like that and win, it was a sign of a really good one. It just shows a real will to win that you don’t find in too many horses.”

Fell Swoop was bred by Lee Curtis and partners Mark Richards, Graham Singh & Paul Armstrong (who remain in his ownership), and sold to his trainer for $45,000 at the 2013 Inglis Classic Sale.  The gelding’s dam is Touched In Flight (by Fasliyev), a descendant of Simper, the wonderful foundation broodmare for New Zealand’s Chelandry Stud.

Not A Single Doubt struck again at Caulfield when his daughter Don’t Doubt Mamma took out the $80,000 MRC Foundation Plate over 1400 metres for trainer Tony McEvoy. It was the 3YO filly’s second win from six starts and followed an eye-catching fourth in Stay With Me’s MVRC Atlantic Jewel S. LR two weeks ago.

Don’t Doubt Mamma settled midfield for jockey Luke Currie who got her into the clear at the 300-metre mark, balanced her up and then just had to hang on as she sprinted past Sacred Eye and Thames Court to win by a half-length.

Watch Don’t Doubt Mamma’s win at Caulfield.

McEvoy, who also trains the filly’s stakes-winning older brother Risen From Doubt, said, “She’s a highly talented filly, that was impressive.

“Once she was balanced she went from being some chance to the dominant winner and not many horses have that quality.”

Don’t Doubt Mamma (ex Coconut Mamma, by Fantastic Light from the celebrated Denise’s Joy family) will now head to the VRC Edward Manifold S. G2 on 4 October and, all going well, on to the MRC  Thousand Guineas G1 six days later. Quoted at $201 by the TAB before the Atlantic Jewel Stakes, she is now $8 on the third line of betting behind Stay With Me ($4.20) and Pasadena Girl ($6.00) for the Guineas.

Don’t Doubt Mamma was purchased privately from Tyreel Stud by Blue Sky Bloodstock for Peter Katelanis and partners, most of whom also race Risen From Doubt.

Arrowfield is breeding from Miss St Tropez (Magnus-Coconut Mamma), who has an All American filly foal and visits Animal Kingdom this Spring.

Saturday’s victories have taken Not A Single Doubt’s Australian earnings in the first seven weeks of the season to $1,079,630, which places him fifth on the General Sires’ table. He has averaged almost a winner a day for the past month, so it’s no surprise to see him also holding second on the list by winners (30) and wins (37).

Counterattack impresses in Heritage Stakes

Marvellous broodmare Kisma added a third stakeswinner to her outstanding record when Counterattack, her 3YO son by Redoute’s Choice, pounced late to win the $100,000 ATC Heritage S. 1100m LR at Randwick on Saturday.

Watch Counterattack win the Heritage S. LR.

Counterattack showed good ability last season, placing three times at Randwick & Rosehill, before his maiden win at Warwick Farm in April. That encouraged Chris Waller and owner-breeders Geoff & Mary Grimish to send him to Queensland where he ran fourth in two Group 2 races, and seventh in Press Statement’s J.J. Atkins S. G1.

His development since then was evident at Randwick, as he launched a powerful sprint to run down the favourite Haptic and Takedown, both successful in stakes company last season.

Chris Waller confirmed the progress Counterattack made through the winter.

“He’s come back looking like an adult horse now and I guess that trip away and a bit of warmth in winter certainly helps. He’s got the makings of a good horse and he’s heading that way.”

He’ll return to Randwick for the Roman Consul S. G2 on 3 October, with a trip to Melbourne possible after that.

Counterattack is the 124th stakeswinner for his champion sire, and the third stakeswinner, after Group 1 winners Shellscrape & Red Tracer, for Kisma (by Snippets), who is due to foal again to Redoute’s Choice this Spring. All eight of Kisma’s foals have won, with 35 wins to their collective credit.

Seven weeks into the new season, Redoute’s Choice is on track to match or exceed his 2014/15 tally of 15 stakeswinners, with Group winners Royal Descent (also a gallant second in the George Main S. G1) & She’s Clean as well as Counterattack already on the board.