Ian Alton had a tip that Historian would cause an upset victory in yesterday's $200,000 Zabeel Classic at Ellerslie.

James McDonald climbed off the remarkable cripple after finishing seventh in the Coupland's Mile at Riccarton and told Alton: "I'd love to ride this horse in a group one 2000m".

It came two starts later, but McDonald was back in Australia and Matt Cameron was in the saddle for yesterday's heart-stopper.

Alton has done a magnificent job of getting Historian back to winning two group one races after leg and foot problems looked as though they had ended his career.


"This horse must have a great big ticker," said Alton, as he watched partner Catherine lead Historian back into the Ellerslie birdcage.

"He's not built like a weight-for-age horse, he looks like a steeplechaser."

Alton has not enjoyed perfect health for some time and you can say Historian has helped in that regard.

Conversely, Alton argues: "The stress every time you take this horse to the races doesn't help.

"Each time he goes out for a race you just pray he comes back sound."

Top-class horses race through the pain barrier for most types of injuries. Alton said Historian walked out of his box yesterday morning a little gingerly.

"Every time you shoe him you jink up his feet. Catherine was a little concerned, but it turned out okay."

There are no plans to retire Historian.

"He loves being out there, so he will keep going."

Historian will race next in the 2000m weight-for-age International Stakes at Te Rapa on February 8.

In a fabulous finish, O'Fille was a long head away second with a nose to Soriano and half a head to Viadana.

The pace mid-race slowed down to a crawl, badly counting against the back runners. One of the worst affected was Survived, who had only one or two behind him when the slowing took place.

He made a little ground, but it was tough going from where he was and he finished 1.8 lengths from the winner in eighth place.

"Things were right against him, but we can't go to Australia on that effort," said Hastings horseman John Bary.

"Almost certainly he can go to the paddock now and come back for the 1400m weight-for-age at Te Rapa." Cambridge mare Zurella got back and did not run on against an on-pace bias because of the tempo.