Guineas bloodlines chasing Zabeel

1 March 2024 Written by Racing & Sports

When Victoria Racing Club committeeman Doug Reid hatched a plan for the Australian Guineas almost 40 years ago, he would have dreamed of an early edition being won by a horse like Zabeel.

The 1600-metre event for three-year-olds was to become the autumn equivalent of the well-established Caulfield Guineas, one of the most sought-after races in the country for those with a stallion prospect.

The race’s first four winners, True Version, Military Plume, Flotilla and King’s High, all stood at stud, but Zabeel was the early winner the race needed.

A son of breeding barn immortal Sir Tristram, the Colin Hayes-trained colt recorded his only Group 1 win as a racehorse in the 1990 Guineas, laying the platform for one of the all-time great stallion careers.

He sired 46 individual Group 1 winners, headed by champions Might And Power and Octagonal having also produced the likes of Efficient, Maldivian, Sky Heights, Preferment, Savabeel, Vengeance Of Rain and Jezabeel.

Flying Spur, Pins, Dash For Cash, Zabeel’s son Reset, Al Maher and Shamus Award are other Australian Guineas winners who succeeded at stud, but not to the level of Zabeel.

He also remains the only Australian Guineas winner to sire a winner of the race, a feat he has achieved three times, a record he shares with the legendary Danehill.

Mouawad was Zabeel’s first winner, in 1997, followed by Dignity Dancer two years later with Reset landing a third win in 2004.

Two runners in this year’s race have a shot at putting their sire’s name up in lights alongside Zabeel.

Quintessa is a daughter of Shamus Award, who in 2014 became the first three-year-old to complete the Cox Plate/Australian Guineas double.

The son of Snitzel was standing for just $11,000 at Widden Stud the year Quintessa was conceived but was commanding $88,000 a serve at Rosemont three years later thanks to the deeds of Incentivise, Duais, Mr Quickie.

Shamus Award has had just three Guineas runners; Soul Patch, who finished third in 2020, and Embolism (fourth) and Ironedge (last) the following year.

This is the first year that Grunt has had a chance to be represented in the race he won in 2018.

The son of O’Reilly was retired to Yulong Stud at the end of his racing career and Veight has been the banner member of his first crop, having won a VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes and Australia Stakes at Group 2 level along with a second placing in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas.

Quintessa and Veight are among the field of 16 plus one emergency for this year’s Guineas, which includes two products of sires who have already produced an Australian Guineas winner.

Cap Ferrat is a son of Shamus Award’s sire Snitzel, who also won the 2015 edition with Wandjina, while Vieste’s sire Maurice produced 2022 winner Hitotsu.