The late New Zealand champion, Zabeel more than left his mark on the South African racing scene.
He is the sire of Gauteng Guineas winning sire, Oracy, while another son, Ess Five Beaches, won the Gr3 Lonsdale Stirrup Cup and would have joined Oracy at stud had he not died prematurely.
Zabeel was also broodmare sire of local graded winners, Nothing But Silk (Sceptre Stakes, Southern Cross Stakes) and Curved Ball (Dingaans), the sire of this season’s Gr2 Dingaans runner up, Seerite.
Zabeel’s best son to race in South Africa was undoubtedly Equus Champion, Greys Inn (USA), who won the 2004 Vodacom Durban July, amid a trio of Gr1 races.
Greys Inn competed in four different countries and twice faced off against legendary Australian race mare, Makybe Diva (Desert King). The versatile brown won from 1200m to 2450m and perhaps put up his finest performance when second to champion Vengeance Of Rain in the 2005 QE II Cup at Sha Tin, when Greys Inn accounted for international Gr1 winners Bullish Luck, Epalo, Elvstroem and Grand Armee.
Interestingly among the notable horses beaten by Greys Inn in the July was champion filly, Promisefrommyheart (Elliodor), whose son, Master Of My Fate (Jet Master), was represented by his first winner, when Twist Of Fate won on Friday.
While Greys Inn’s greatest son has been, without doubt, Legal Eagle, he is also sire of Royal Bencher, who dead-heated in the SA Derby , and retired grey, King Of Pain. The latter accounted for champions, Beach Beauty (Dynasty), Yorker (Jet Master) and Capetown Noir (Western Winter), when victorious in the 2014 Rising Sun Gold Challenge and won a total of four graded races in all. Other graded winners for Greys Inn include Canterbury Tale, Chekilli and Forries Waltz, although it is perhaps telling that he is yet to be represented by a single graded stakes winning filly.
Greys Inn’s stud record could well have gained further gloss had his talented sons, Chekilli and Forries Waltz, both not died in training. Perhaps it is no surprise that despite being a son of a major stamina influence in Zabeel, Greys Inn has also proved capable of throwing above average sprinter-milers –his dam is a half-sister to outstanding sprinter, Zeditave.
Greys Inn’s sire, Zabeel, has had a most notable impact in this country this season through Saturday’s Gr1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate winner, Legal Eagle and his presence has also been felt through the deeds of his grandson, Lonhro in 2017-2018. Best known in South Africa as the sire of 2016 Vodacom Durban July winner, The Conglomerate, Australian Horse Of The Year, Lonhro, has a pair of bright three-year-olds representing him in South Africa this season. They are ecent Gr3 Lebelo Sprint winner, Alfolk and last season’s Gr1 SA Nursery runner up, Naafer.
Remarkably, Alfolk and Naafer are the only two sophomores representing their sire in this country this season. Lonhro’s own sire, fellow Australian Horse Of The Year, Octagonal, also enjoyed Gr1 success in South Africa, with his son, Suntagonal, who downed champion, National Currency, in the 2002 Premiers Champion Stakes.
Lonhro has outperformed his sire at stud, already having a General Sires title to his credit, as well as the titles of Leading Sire of 2yos and Leading Sire of 3yos (by stakes) and has also twice been leading sire of winners in Australia. His champion son, and Golden Slipper winner, Pierro, has also been represented by Listed Christmas Handicap winner, Roy Had Enough (a first South African runner for his sire), and it is not hard to see both Lonhro and Pierro enjoying sustained success, from their limited runners, in this country.
Pierro is currently Australia’s Leading Second Crop Sire and with a Gr1 winner emerging from his very first crop (VRC Oaks heroine Pinot) looks to be a sire with a very bright future ahead of him. Already represented by six stakes winners this season, Pierro has some well-bred youngsters still to represent him.
He could well be the horse most likely to ensure the ongoing success of the Zabeel male line, with assistance from New Zealand Champion sire, Savabeel. Pierro, however, has a long way to go to match the feats of his ancestor, Zabeel, who notched up 23 sires titles during his remarkable career. He left behind at least 13 official champions, including Might And Power and Octagonal, who were two of the greatest racehorses to grace the Australian turf in the past few decades and who won a combined 17 Gr1 races, and Hong Kong champion, and Dubai Sheema Classic winner, Vengeance Of Rain.
Zabeel, who died in 2015, continues to dominate various broodmare sire lists in Australasia, and already has four titles in New Zealand to his name.