Melbourne Cup: Cambridge Stud seeks more Cup glory

By Caryl Williamson

Sir Patrick Hogan with Zabeel, who will have four of his progeny in the Melbourne Cup tomorrow. Photo / Brendon O'Hagan
Sir Patrick Hogan with Zabeel, who will have four of his progeny in the Melbourne Cup tomorrow. Photo / Brendon O'Hagan

As Australians clamour to buy European horses to win the Melbourne Cup, Sir Patrick Hogan says they should be looking a little closer to home.

The proprietor of New Zealand's famed Cambridge Stud, Hogan is responsible for the most influential staying blood introduced to the Southern Hemisphere in the past 40 years.

He imported Sir Tristram in 1975 and the legacy lives on in his son Zabeel, who will have four runners in the Melbourne Cup tomorrow.

Sir Tristram and Zabeel have sired three Cup winners and Hogan has a vested interest in what could be Zabeel's fourth as the co-owner of the Bart Cummings-trained Precedence.

"I think it sends a message to this part of the world that we can still produce horses that can run in a Melbourne Cup," Hogan said.

"But at the end of the day there can be only one Melbourne Cup winner and it doesn't make sense to buy horses to win one race.

"The European horses are becoming very expensive. I'm very proud of Zabeel and what he has achieved and to think he will have four Cup runners speaks for itself.

"Those horses have all also won a lot of money on the way."

The 1997 Caulfield and Melbourne Cups winner Might And Power was from Zabeel's second crop with the star of the first season's progeny Octagonal, winner of the Cox Plate at three and the autumn triple crown a few months later.

Octagonal's son Lonhro was also a star on the track and in the breeding barn, with his progeny showing the family's versatility as superior middle-distance horses.

Jezabeel, also from that first crop, became Zabeel's second Cup winner in 1998, beating another of his daughters, Champagne, with Efficient his most recent in 2007.

Gurner's Lane (1982), Empire Rose (1988) and Brew (2000) are the three Cup winners by Sir Tristram among his 45 individual group one winners.

As well as Precedence, Zabeel will be represented by Lights Of Heaven, Maluckyday and Zabeelionaire tomorrow.

Last season, Zabeel won his first broodmare sire title, thanks in no small part to the 2011 Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed, a daughter of Stareel. This year's Cox Plate winner, Ocean Park, is also out of a daughter of Zabeel.

Unfortunately, Southern Speed was injured in trackwork on Saturday and will not take her place in tomorrow's Cup.

Now 26, Zabeel has been restricted to serving 40 mares this season and his days at stud are numbered.

"Zabeel served 90 mares last year and we kept him to 40 this season," Hogan said. "We are well aware not to overtax him.

"He is in his twilight years now and will probably only serve a few mares next year."

While many of Sir Tristram's group one-winning sons such as Grosvenor, Sovereign Red and Dalmacia have gone on to be successful at stud, Australian Guineas winner Zabeel was the only one Hogan wanted for himself.

"He was the one I liked and I wanted a son of Sir Tristram," he said.

"I haven't found one of Zabeel's sons to take his place. Many of them have been gelded.

"But his daughters are doing a sensational job so it will continue."

-AAP

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