Legendary stallion Zabeel passed away at Cambridge Stud in New Zealand overnight at 29 years of age.
Zabeel was a very talented horse on the racetrack and he won the 1990 edition of the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) and the Group 2 Craiglee Stakes (1600m) in the same year, but it was as a stallion that he really left his mark on the global racing industry.
The son of Sir Tristram was retired to stand at stud in 1991 and it was hoped that he would be able to match the feats of his champion sire, but it is unlikely that anybody predicted just how good he would prove to be as a stallion.
Zabeel quickly produced Octagonal and he went on to record ten wins at Group 1 level included the 1995 Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), but he was quickly replaced at Zabeel’s most talented progeny by Might And Power, who completed the Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup double in 1997 and won the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) the following year.
Zabeel’s progeny continued to have success in the biggest races on the Australian racing calendar and he produced three winners of the Melbourne Cup (Might And Power, Jezabeel and Efficient) four winners of the Cox Plate (Octagonal, Might And Power, Savabeel and Maldivian) and three winners of the Caulfield Cup (Might And Power, Sky Heights And Railings).
He was named Champion Sire in Australia in both 1998 and 1999, but his ability to produce quality broodmares is likely to be his long lasting legacy as well as his sons Savabeel and Reset who have both gone on to succeed as stallions in their own right.
Zabeel was retired from stallion duties at the end of 2013 and he saw out the rest of his days at owner Sir Patrick Hogan’s Cambridge Stud and it was Hogan that announced the 29-year-olds passing
“Zabeel was a sire who excelled at the very highest level and was able to carry on where his own great sire Sir Tristram had left off,” Hogan said.
“He contributed to the thoroughbred industry and excelled above all expectations and having enjoyed his retirement for the past few years.
“He will be sadly missed by all here at Cambridge Stud.
“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.
“Zabeel gave so many people though his progeny the greatest thrill of winning so many races at the highest level.
“He surpassed all stallions that have come before him, past and present, in New Zealand.
“Four Cox Plates and three Melbourne Cups – what more can you say?
“So a big thank you from us all and God bless, rest in peace.”
Zabeel still has the chance to add another feature race win to his resume as a stallion, with 2014 Victoria Derby winner Preferment rated a genuine chance in races like the Caulfield Cup and the Melbourne Cup.