Forget O’Reilly, High Chaparral or any of the other top class stayers we have become familiar with over recent years, there is a new kid on the block, ZED (Zabeel x Emerald Dream, by Danehill). This 10 year old son of Zabeel has had a far from traditional road to success but he has overcome many adversities to get to where he is. Next week he has three good chances in the Queensland Derby including Survived, Usanity and Ambitious Champion ensuring this relatively unknown stallion is thrust firmly into the limelight.
Survived made it four from four in New Zealand, winning the Group Three Manawatu Classic and Hawkes Bay cup, the first three year old to do so in thirty years, before coming second to Hawkspur in the Group 2 Rough Habit Plate at Eagle Farm. Usanity ran second to Survived in the Manawatu Classic, a Zed quinella before winning the Frank Packer Plate at Randwick on the last day of the Autumn carnival. Ambitious Champion looks an improving type winning super impressively in New Zealand before finishing strongly in the Group three Grand Prix Stakes at Doomben.
Every aspect in the journey of this stallion has been twisted by fate. He was purchased by Bruce Perry in 2004 at the Premier Karaka Yearling sales. ‘I purchased him on behalf of Jomara Bloodstock, he was a good mover and had an excellent temperament.’ The intention was to send him across the Tasman and into training with Lee Freedman but a freak accident on the float left several yearlings injured including the Zabeel colt Zed, who cut some tendons/ligaments on his near hind leg. After a long convalesence and precious time lost it was decided a trainer closer to home was the sensible option. Murray Baker was the man selected for the job and so the next part of his career began.
He started his 3 year old season and racing career with a bang after dominantly winning a maiden at Hastings over 1600m. It was in false promise though as he failed to produce a single other win in his career. Bruce Perry’s analysis was that the original injury sustained on the float always affected him and his racing career, it put pressure on his front legs resulting in a tendon strain.
But hailing from the legendary family of Eight Carat responsible for producing such horses as Tristalove, Don Eduardo, Viking Ruler, Viscount, Kaapstaad and Octagonal to name but a few he was always destined for a career at stud. Zed’s second dam Theme Song hails from Cotehele House who produced Commands and Danewin. Theme Song’s five foals all won including two who won stakes races, one of which was Emerald Dream. The daughter of Danehill had won seven races including the Group One Waikato International over 2000m. Interestingly also trained by Murray Baker. She was then duly retired and put in foal to Zabeel, her first foal being Zed.
After Zed’s short race career he was retired in 2007 to Little Avondale stud in Masterton. He covered 100 mares in his first season at $500 a service. Lack in demand forced a transfer to Erewhon Station on the South Island where he failed to even cover a thoroughbred mare. After the recent success of his three year olds he has been moved to Grangewilliam Stud near Whanganui where he will stand for $4000 + GST.
His best assets seem to pass through to his progeny with his current stock all classic staying types with very trainable natures. If he can produce this quality of animal with a relatively weak book of mares, I am excited to see what he can do with something more commercial. A win in the Queensland Derby next weekend would certainly help and once again promote the exceptional ability of the New Zealand bred stayer. The legend of the Eight Carat family lives on.
By Emily Murphy
(Editor’s Note : Emily Murphy is the trusted handler for the great It’s A Dundeel}