Sir Patrick reflects on stallion might

 
27 Sep 2015

Story courtesy of Dennis Ryan, The Informant

As he came to terms this morning with the death of Zabeel, Sir Patrick Hogan reflected on the good fortune he was blessed with to stand the champion stallion and before that his own great sire Sir Tristram.

Zabeel passed away overnight in his paddock at Cambridge Stud aged 29, having been retired from active duties in 2013. He had stood at Cambridge Stud since 1991, 15 years after Sir Tristram had begun his illustrious career as the foundation stallion at the world famous nursery.

“I can cast my mind back to being a young fella at 17 when my father got Blueskin to stand at Fencourt Stud in 1956,” Hogan told www.theinformant.co.nz. “That was when I decided the breeding industry, working with horses, was where I wanted to be.

“I had my dreams even then of one day standing a champion stallion, but who in their wildest dreams would expect to first get a Sir Tristram and then a Zabeel?

“I was the lucky person to be blessed with two great stallions. Between them they became my business and my life in making Cambridge Stud what it became.”

As much as it hurts to farewell the champion stallion who to date has sired 44 Group One winners ? one less than Sir Tristram ? Hogan is pragmatic in accepting what has come to pass.

“It had to come, we know that, and in fairness over the last four or five days I had noticed a little change in that bold eye that was Zabeel. It just seemed to have lost some of its gleam.

“We knew that day would come - it comes to us all, horse or human, none of us can dodge it.

“He will be buried alongside his sire Sir Tristram in the very same tradition, with his tail facing the sunrise and his head facing the sunset.”

Sir Tristram, who shared with his greatest son membership of the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame, was laid to rest in the Cambridge Stud courtyard following his death in 1997 at the age of 26.

His 45 Group One winners included the Melbourne Cup winners Gurner’s Lane, Empire Rose and Brew, while Zabeel sired the Cup trio of Might And Power, Jezabeel and Efficient. Might And Power also won the Caulfield Cup and the Cox Plate, and the latter race was also claimed by the Zabeel progeny Octagonal, Savabeel and Maldivian.

Zabeel’s raft of titles includes champion Australian sire twice, champion New Zealand sire four times, champion Dewar (NZ/Aus) stallion 15 times, and champion Australian broodmare sire and New Zealand broodmare sire three times each.

Savabeel is leading the way as a sire for the next generation established by Sir Tristram, having taken his first New Zealand premiership in 2014-15 and compiling a progeny record headed by 10 Group One winners. Zabeel’s sire sons also include Reset (30 SW), Octagonal (25 SW) and Don Eduardo (10 SW).

His distaff influence is now being reflected in emerging Cambridge Stud stallion Tavistock, with the strength of the cross over Zabeel mares illustrated by the likes of Werther, Hasselhoof and last week’s Melbourne winner Tarzino.

“When I spent some time with Zabeel this morning saying my last goodbyes, I told him his job wasn’t done yet,” said Hogan. “He’s still got two and three-year-olds to race and of the 45 mares I’m sending to Tavistock this year, 20 of them are daughters of Zabeel.”