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.

Abidewithme scores at Caulfield

The 2009 crop of Redoute’s Choice is one of his very best, with 21 stakeswinners from 107 named foals – an exceptional strike rate of 19.6%.

They are not short of quality either: 13 of them have won in Group company and three of those, champion sprinter Lankan Rupee, South African star Wylie Hall and Oaks winner Royal Descent, are Group 1 winners.

Nor is their record complete. A week after Royal Descent returned this season to claim the ATC Warwick S. G2 on 22 August, Sir Patrick & Lady Hogan’s homebred mare Abidewithme has won her season debut at Caulfield.

Watch Abidewithme’s win at Caulfield.

Already the winner of eight races in New Zealand, including last season’s Waikato RC Travis S. G2, Abidewithme was making her first raceday appearance since being transferred to the Melbourne stable of Peter Moody. 

The Mares Handicap over 1400 metres also attracted last season’s VRC Oaks G1 winner Set Square who settled just ahead of Abidewithme at the rear, while Danestroem and Kansas Sunflower made the pace up front.

As the field swung round the turn, Patrick Moloney took Abidewithme wide, while Michael Dee directed Set Square towards the rail.  The pair were more-or-less level at the 200-metre mark, but the 3kg Abidewithme received from Set Square began to tell and she forged to a narrow lead she held over the closing stages of the race.

It was a fine effort by both mares and Abidewithme’s winning time of 1:23.02 was faster than the other three 1400-metre races on the Caulfield card, including Boban’s Memsie Stakes G1.

Abidewithme and her stakes-winning half-sister Miss Scarlatti are the best of six winners from the dual Group winner Crimson (by Zabeel), a three-quarter sister to 1987 Victoria Derby winner Omnicorp, from the family of Singpore Group 1 winner Always Certain (by Not A Single Doubt). Crimson is now retired after foaling a 2014 filly to Group 3 winner Burgundy (by Redoute’s Choice).