Champion New Zealand sire Zabeel retires at 27

Reigning champion broodmare sire and Cambridge Stud resident Zabeel has been retired, it was announced on Monday.

Zabeel’s extraordinary success and remarkable influence on the thoroughbred industry has continued the legacy of his iconic sire Sir Tristram.

“It’s the end of an era and what a ride it’s been for Cambridge Stud,” said Sir Patrick Hogan.

“I could never have imagined what Sir Tristram was able to achieve and pretty well immediately afterwards came Zabeel to take over the mantle – it’s been an amazing 33-year run.”

The sire of 100 individual Group winners and 43 individual Group 1 winners, Zabeel will now live a life of luxury in the same paddock that he has occupied since his retirement to stud in 1991 after a successful racing career that earned him a Group 1 victory in the Australian Guineas.

“Zabeel is enormously fit, both physically and mentally and you wouldn’t pick there was anything wrong with him,”said Sir Patrick.

“He had 30 odd mares this season and when he came to the end of serving he hadn’t got any in foal so he is officially retired.

“The fertility just hasn’t happened, but he’s a horse that’s not going to go away though and his progeny in New Zealand and Australia will continue to perform for many years to come.

“He’s been an extraordinary horse with three Melbourne Cup winners and four Cox Plate winners, and as a sire of sires he’s left a horse like Reset, who has produced a VRC Derby winner [Rebel Raider], a Caulfield Cup winner [Fawkner] and a Cox Plate winner [Pinker Pinker].”

The 27-year-old Zabeel has also left Savabeel, himself a Cox Plate winner, who has in turn produced top-flight successes Sangster (Auckland Cup, VRC Derby, International Stakes), Scarlett Lady (NZ Stakes, Queensland Oaks) and Brambles (Queensland Derby).

“Zabeel’s a great broodmare sire as well and his daughters produced the first [It’s A Dundeel], second [Atlantic Jewel] and third [Dear Demi] in the Underwood Stakes this season,” said Sir Patrick.

“I might be biased and the Australians may disagree but in my time, and I’m 74, I can’t identify a horse in the last 50-odd years that has been as successful as him.”

Sir Patrick rated Might And Power as the best horse Zabeel had produced, a short margin ahead of Octagonal.

“If I had to be on the panel of judges then I would put Might And Power on top, it was just the way he raced with that great cruising speed that won him a Caulfield Cup, the Cox Plate and the Melbourne Cup,” he said. “I’d put him in front with Octagonal a close second.”

Zabeel produced numerous six-figure plus yearlings, the highest was Don Eduardo at $3.6 million in 2000.

“He’s got a great physique, a beautiful strong head and a very bold eye,” Sir Patrick said.

“They always talked about it in the ring. Overall he is a lovely horse and Robert Sangster once said ‘this horse could step out of any box anywhere in the world and you would have to take notice of him’.”

Zabeel also had his own way of doing things that lasted right up until his last visit to the breeding shed. “He’d have to go 50 yards and 25 of them he would be on his hind legs every time, even this season. That was a quirk of his,” said Sir Patrick.

Sir Tristram sired 45 individual Group 1 winners, including three Melbourne Cup winners (Gurner’s Lane, Empire Rose, Brew), during a decorated career that earned him Australasian sire and broodmare sire titles.

He was also inducted into the NZ Racing Hall of Fame in 2008.

“I’ve been fortunate and I’m very proud that the two horses have done so much for myself, my family, all concerned at Cambridge Stud and everybody that has had a Sir Tristram or Zabeel around them, it’s been mind-boggling,” Sir Patrick said.

Sir Patrick Hogan led his first yearling into the Trentham sale ring in 1956 and he has plans to be at the head of the final Zabeel to grace Karaka.

“Zabeel’s last crop is four fillies, and I shouldn’t imagine that they will be sold, and a colt and I own that one with a partner and he will be the last yearling ever sold at auction,” he said.

“He will be the final one presented in 2015 and, God willing and I’m standing up, I will lead him through the ring.”

The colt is a half-brother to the Group 1 Easter Handicap winner Time Keeper, who topped the New Zealand Three-Year-Old Free Handicap of his year.

Source: Racing Post 16 December 2013

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