Zillzaal, winner of Saturday’s Gr1 Gauteng Chris Gerber Summer Cup, is a horse lacking little in terms of pedigree.
He is a son of Silvano, South Africa’s reigning champion sire, who was also responsible for Summer Cup third place finisher, Al Mutawakel.
Zillzaal is the third Summer Cup winner for Silvano thus far, with the four times South African champion sire also sire of past winners Aslan and Flirtation.
Sarah Whitelaw writes that Zillzaal and Al Mutawakel’s feat of finishing first and third in a Summer Cup was matched by their paternal half-siblings, Flirtation and Rudi Rocks, who filled the same spots in the 2010 Summer Cup, when Aslan finished fourth.
Silvano’s dominance of South Africa’s top middle distance races has been consistent over the past few years, with his quality underlined in particular when his sons, Power King, Punta Arenas and Tellina finished first, second and third in the 2015 Gr1 Vodacom Durban July.
Power King is one of four July winners for Silvano, the others being Bold Silvano, Heavy Metal and Marinaresco.
Silvano’s tally of individual Gr1 winners stands at 23, and he is fast approaching the benchmark of having sired 100 black type winners.
Silvano is currently responsible for 91 black type winners, including Zillzaal. Once again heading the General Sires List following Zillzaal’s win in the Summer Cup, Silvano looks on course to record a fifth South African General Sires title this season, with his other notable current performers headed by Equus Champion, Hawwaam, unbeaten Gr3 The Citizen Fillies Mile winner, Summer Pudding, Gr1 winning filly, Silvano’s Pride, Cape Classic winner, Silver Operator, and Gr2 Concorde Cup runner up, Sachdev.
With sire sons headed by the very exciting Vercingetorix possibly the impressive Hawwaam, Silvano’s legacy should well continue for years to come.
Not only by one of the best sires to have stood in South Africa for many a year, Zillzaal also hails from an impressive female line, with his first three dams sired by Giant’s Causeway, Seattle Slew and Seeking The Gold respectively. Not only are they top sires, but they have all become outstanding broodmare sires and rank among the better maternal grandsires in recent times. Interestingly, his dam, Zulaal, is closely inbred to champion, Storm Bird, being sired by the latter’s brilliant grandson, Giant’s Causeway (Storm Cat) and having Storm Bird mare, Starlet Storm, as her third dam. Inbreeding to Storm Bird has already been seen to good effect, with this doubling up found in the pedigrees of such notable Gr1 winners as Summer Bird (Belmont Stakes), Faint Perfume (VRC Oaks), Lovely Maria (Kentucky Oaks), Mind Control (Hopeful Stakes), Sioux Nation (Phoenix Stakes), and Giant’s Causeway’s outstanding son, Bricks And Mortar (likely US Horse Of The Year for 2019).
Zillzaal’s broodmare sire, Giant’s Causeway, has had a huge year in 2019, with the deceased triple US Champion Sire having marked success as a sire, sire of sires and broodmare sire this year. It was more of the same for Giant’s Causeway over the weekend, when he was not only damsire of the 2019 Summer Cup winner but also of Tom’s D’Etat (Smart Strike) – an impressive winner of the Gr1 Clark Stakes at Churchill Downs.
While Zulaal was unraced, she has an exceptional pedigree, being a daughter of a multiple champion sire son of Storm Cat and having been produced by a champion daughter of outstanding racehorse and sire, Seattle Slew.
Her dam, Surfside, (among the best daughters of Triple Crown winner, Seattle Slew) was North America’s Eclipse Champion 3-Year-Old Filly of 2000 and won Gr1 races at both two and three.
Perhaps her most impressive performance came when Surfside, runner up in the 2000 Gr1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff, won the then Gr2 (now Gr1) Clark Handicap, beating Kentucky Derby runner up, and subsequent Jockey Club Gold Cup winner, Aptitude (A.P. Indy) among others.
Retired to stud, the regally bred millionaire failed to produce anything approaching her own merit, although her Gr3 Cougar II Handicap winning son, Irish Surf (a full-brother to Zulaal) is now standing at stud in Florida and Surfside’s Storm Cat daughter, High Surf, is dam of French Gr3 winner, High Celebrity (Invincible Spirit).
Remarkably, Zulaal’s dam and her granddam, Flanders, were both official US champions, with Flanders first past the post in each of her five starts (she was disqualified after winning the Matron however), and scoring a remarkable win over outstanding racemare and producer, Serena’s Song, in the 1994 Gr1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
She never ran again. Flanders is not only dam of a champion in Surfside, but is also dam of Gr2 New Orleans Handicap winner, and Japanese sire, Battle Plan (Empire Maker).
Other notable performers from this family include champion Ashford sire, Air Force Blue (War Front), Flower Alley’s high-class daughter, My Wandy’s Girl, and Gr3 winner, and successful sire, Dodge (Mr Prospector).
The latter also made his mark in South Africa as the sire of dual Gr1 winner and Equus Champion, Rat Burana.