The death of one of the Southern Hemisphere’s greatest stallions was announced on Friday night, with the passing of the 29 year old Zabeel.
Appropriately, the influence of the former Gr1 Australian Guineas winner was well and truly felt the world over. Zabeel is the broodmare sire of Saturday’s Gr3 Colin Stephen Quality Handicap winner, Amelie’s Star (by Testa Rossa), as well as Saturday’s Australian Gr2 winner, Vashka (Exceed And Excel), while his stakes winning son, Seul Amour (now standing at Vanree Stud in the Western Cape) is sire of Saturday’s Listed Harry White Classic winner, Black Tomahawk. From limited opportunities in South Africa, Seul Amour is also responsible for Heart Of A Lion, winner of last season’s Gr2 SABC Gold Vase on July day.
Zabeel’s champion grandson, Lonhro, was represented by his first Northern Hemisphere sired Graded winner on Saturday when his first crop colt, the 2yo Isotherm, won the Gr3 Pilgrim Stakes in North America.
Lonhro, whose 50 plus black type winners include Champion 2YO Pierro and a pair of Gr1 Golden Rose winners, seems sure to continue the Zabeel male line and he has also fared well in South Africa, where Lonhro’s notable performers include last season’s Gr2 KRA Guineas hero, The Conglomerate.
Another son, unbeaten Guineas hero, Reset, is the sire of top Aussie speedball, Disposition, who ran a creditable second in Saturday’s Gr1 Invitation Stakes at Caulfield, while arguably Zabeel’s most successful sire son thus far is Savabeel – Champion Sire in New Zealand in 2014-2015. Interestingly, Savabeel has a link to South Africa – he is out of a mare by former Gr1 Breeders Cup Juvenile winner, Success Express, whose broodmare sire is former successful South African sire, Dancing Champ.
Staggeringly, Zabeel’s 150 odd stakes winners include no fewer than 44 individual Gr1 winners, with his offspring faring well all over the globe.
A multiple champion sire in both Australia and New Zealand, Zabeel’s tally of stars include three Melbourne Cup winners, while his runners won the Cox Plate four times. Zabeel’s impact on the Cup could well continue as among the leading fancies for this year’s race is Preferment, Zabeel’s Gr1 Victoria Derby winner of 2014.
His sons Might And Power and Octagonal (who between them won 17 Gr1 races) were both named Horse Of The Year, while other official Zabeel sired champions included Efficient, Greys Inn, and Vengeance of Rain.
No fewer than 15 of his offspring won $1 million plus, with his top earner being Octagonal, who earned more than $5.8 million in stakes. His other millionaires include Vengeance Of Rain (over $5.5 million), Might And Power (over $5.2 million), Melbourne Cup winner Efficient (over $4.7 million), former AJC Derby winner Sky Heights (over $4. 2 million), Caulfield Cup hero Railings (over $3.1 million), Maldivian ($2.7 million plus), Cox Plate and champion sire Savabeel (over $2.7 million), and Jezabeel (over $2 million).
His daughters, Jezabeel and Champagne, provided their sire with a rare 1-2 finish in the race which stops a nation, when filling the first two placings in the Gr1 Melbourne Cup of 1998.
Zabeel has also exerted a considerable influence as a broodmare sire with his daughters having produced more than 140 stakes winners at the time of writing. Stars out of Zabeel mares include champion Darci Brahma (himself now a leading sire in New Zealand), six time Gr1 winner and sire Dundeel (High Chaparral), once beaten superstar filly Atlantic Jewel (Fastnet Rock), Horse Of The Year Ocean Park (Thorn Park), Caulfield Cup heroine Southern Speed (Southern Image), and multiple Gr1 winning filly Samantha Miss (Redoute’s Choice). Zabeel daughter, Monroe Magic, was a particularly good broodmare, with her offspring including no fewer than three Gr1 winners – Anacheeva (Anabaa), Headturner (Anabaa) and O’Marilyn (O’Reilly). Zabeel is also broodmare sire of Curved Ball (Fastnet Rock) – winner of the Gr2 Dingaans and himself a promising young stallion.
His South African influence is considerable, with Zabeel sired runners in this country including former Equus Champion and Vodacom Durban July winner, Greys Inn, whose own progeny includes last season’s Gr1 SA Derby winner, Legal Eagle, arguably the best sophomore to race in South Africa during 2014-2015. Legal Eagle is one of two SA Derby winners sired by former SA Derby winner Greys Inn, the other being Royal Bencher, who shared the spoils with subsequent July winner Pomodoro back in 2012.
Other notable local runners sired by Zabeel include Gr2 Dingaans winner, Oracy, and the ill-fated Gr3 Lonsdale Stirrup Cup hero, Ess Five Beaches. His champion son, Octagonal, while regarded as a slightly disappointing sire overall, enjoyed success in South Africa through the deeds of his son Suntagonal, winner of the 2002 Gr1 Premier’s Champion Stakes.
Zabeel and his offspring formed a highly successful partnership with Danehill and the latter’s plethora of high class sire sons. Top class performers sired by Danehill or Danehill line sires include the above mentioned Atlantic Jewel, Curved Ball and NZ 1000 Guineas winner, Planet Rock (Fastnet Rock), Samantha Miss (Redoute’s Choice), Darci Brahma (Danehill), and Gr1 sire Fast N Famous (Redoute’s Choice).
When mated to Danehill’s Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes winner Danelagh, Zabeel produced a pair of Gr1 winning siblings – Hong Kong champion Vengeance of Rain and AJC Oaks winner Dizelle, while his Reset is the sire of triple Gr1 winner Fawkner, who is out of a mare by Danehill’s multiple Gr1 winning son, Danewin.
Perhaps the most telling suggestion that Zabeel’s legacy is a way from completed is that sons Zed and Savabeel are currently first and third on New Zealand’s general sires log. With the likes of his grandson, Lonhro, and his growing plethora of high class potential sire sons, it seems a sure bet that the final chapter in the Zabeel legend has not yet been penned.