Zabeel factor a key element of Moore's success

11 Dec 2016

Lorna Moore's breeding philosophy is simple but effective.

"If I really believe in a mating, I try to send the mare at least three times to a stallion," the Matamata owner-breeder said.

"You need to get that right individual."

Moore, who bred Saturday's Gr.3 Waikato Cup winner Lizzie L'Amour and races the Zabeel mare with her husband Gary, also undertakes due diligence when it comes to selecting the right mares.

Back in 2005 Moore was looking for mares to send to Zabeel.

"Each week I would study winners from around the world and notice that a lot of the Group One and Group Two winners in Australia were coming from imported mares," she said.

"I went through the Tatt's catalogue and thought that mare [Sabia] would suit him. She was the only one I picked in the catalogue and luckily Ric Wylie was over there so I got him to check her out."

Sabia, a daughter of Sadler's Wells and a sister to the European Group One winner Saddax, was out of the Irish River mare Remote Romance.

Moore sent her to Al Maher but the resulting filly, Al Shamekha, did not race and Moore bred from her.

Al Shamekha's first foal was a colt by Zabeel who was sold through the Brighthill Farm draft at the 2014 Karaka select sale for $160,000 to John Foote Bloodstock.

Racing as Al Shameel, he was a winner at two and stakes-placed.

Sabia's next filly by Zabeel was Zeldara, a two-time winner for Moore.

The next foal, a colt named Wilanza, raced twice from the stable of Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman stable and now races in the South Island.

"The next one was Lizzie, so we have had to be patient," Moore said.

"She was not easy to handle. A lot of the good mares aren't but we are very lucky to have good people. Alan Wright, who is with us here, is very patient and so are Murray and Andrew and their staff. It has been a real team effort."

A Kiwi, who for a long time was based across the Tasman with her Australian husband Gary, Moore can blame the Aussies for igniting her interest in racing.

"It was way back when they first syndicated horses in Australia," she recalled.

"My husband bought a share and of course the horse was useless. He went to the sale when it was sold and came home with another one - and that was useless as well."

While most wives would've drawn a definitive line under the experience of racehorses, Moore decided she couldn't do worse and began studying pedigrees.

"I thought, 'you've had your go, now I'm having a go'. I went and bought a Showdown mare from Stockwell Stud in Victoria," she said.

"Her first foal was city class and I thought 'how good is this' and went and bought another mare."

Although she delivers that final comment with a self-deprecating laugh, Moore really had hit the jackpot.

That second mare, another by the champion sire Showdown, was Show Games and a sister to the Golden Slipper winner Toy Show.

Show Games left the champion staying mare Bazelle, by Cambridge Stud supersire Zabeel, and she ensured the Moores' pink and blue colours became a familiar sight greeting the judge.

The mare's seven wins included Gr.1 success in the Zabeel Classic and the Auckland Cup.

"And we've waited another 10 years for this one," Moore said, reflecting on Lizzie L'Amour's Group Three success at the weekend. "We've been fortunate."

A lot of that "fortune" comes back to Zabeel and Moore's decision to buy a share in the stallion relatively early in his career.

"When I bought Show Games she was in foal to Zabeel and I sold that foal. Everybody who was anybody was buying Zabeels and I thought 'well, they're all good judges I should try and buy a share.' There weren't many on the market but when one came up I was on the phone from Australia thinking it would probably make about $40,000," she recalled.

Much to her shock the opening bid was $40,000 and, with the next bid $45,000, Moore was asked what she wanted to do. "Then the phone cut out," she said.

When communication was restored, Moore found she was the proud owner of a share in Zabeel having paid $50,000. "It was the best thing I ever did."

Moore now keeps the eight or so mares she breeds from at Zabeel Park, the property she and her husband named in honour of the great stallion. - NZ Racing Desk