Zabeel joins his dad in Hall Of Fame

Champion Cambridge Stud sire Zabeel has joined his illustrious sire in the NZ Racing Hall Of Fame.

Zabeel was one of the nine inductees at last night’s NZ Racing Hall Of Fame (NZRHOF) gala dinner at the SKYCITY in Hamilton.

On hand to accept the induction was Cambridge Stud owner Sir Patrick Hogan, who reminisced on how he came to secure Zabeel in a secret tender between him and the legendary Australian horseman Colin Hayes. Sir Patrick revealed how his tender headed off Hayes’ offer and what the champion sire has meant to him.

Sir Tristram was among the second round of NZRHOF inductees in 2008 and Sir Patrick treats it as a great honour to have Zabeel now on the list.

Zabeel was recently officially retired from active service at the ripe old age of 27 with four NZ and two Australian General Sire Premierships to his credit, along with 15 Dewar Awards (NZ and Australian progeny earnings combined) and 43 Group One winners. He has rewritten the records of his legendary sire Sir Tristram.

Also getting a special thrill from last night’s gala dinner was Sydney-based Syd Brown, who was going to let the aches and pains of old age stop stop him from making the trip back “home” for the function.

Brown (88) was one of the four latest human inductees into the NZRHOF and he was determined to be on hand for the presentation, even though he hadn’t been back to New Zealand for many years. It was a reminder of the honour he felt when picking up the 1968-69 NZ Racing Writers’ Personality Of The Year Award.

 Initially beginning his training career at Te Rapa, Brown is best-remembered for his success during his time at Woodville and, though it was 42 years ago that he shifted to Warwick Farm, his popularity was evident with his strong support group on hand.

Brown, who obtained his trainer’s licence by special permission before he was 21, is treating the few days back in the Waikato as an opportunity to not only catch up with friends and family, but also associates from his successful days of training, a time when he topped the NZ Trainers’ Premiership on two occasions.

After successful raids on the Australian riches, he made the shift to Sydney and in 1972-73, his first full season from his Warwick Farm base, he finished third behind Tommy Smith and Jack Denham on the NSW Trainers’ Premiership with a team less half the size of the two big guns.

Though retired from training for several years, Brown is still living on the same Warwick Farm property with his wife, Sybil, and the couple have been wonderful hosts to many Kiwi trainers and racing folk over the years.

Also making the trip from Sydney to be inducted last night was Jim Cassidy “The Pumper,” who recently became one of just three Australasian jockeys to win 100 Group One races. A record-breaking apprentice and winner of the 1981-82 NZ Jockeys’ Premiership, Cassidy will always be best-remembered by New Zealanders for his Melbourne Cup win on Kiwi.

Gold Coast-based trainer Paddy Busuttin also crossed the Tasman for the big night, which honoured his great stayer Castletown, and he was appropriately joined by Castletown’s faithful strapper Rata Prince and regular jockey Noel Harris. Castletown’s feat of winning three Wellington Cups, an Auckland Cup and the New Zealand Derby will always be treasured.

Rex Cochrane, who slipped into retirement at Alexandra many years ago, was another inductee, recognised for his great skills as a trainer from his Gore base. He became the first New Zealand trainer to prepare 1000 winners.

Also inducted was Maurice McCarten, a champion New Zealand jockey who went on to make his mark in the saddle in Australia before becoming the champion Sydney trainer for four seasons.

Unfortunately Mr Tiz passed away at the age of 29, just eight days short of his induction into the NZRHOF last night, but his deeds as a champion sprinter have been well-recognised. Despite three Railways and two Telegraph Handicaps, it was his scintillating win in the Galaxy in Sydney which made the Australians realise he was the real deal.

Cuddle, another inductee last night, also made a huge impression in Australia, winning the Doncaster and All Aged Stakes in Sydney and the St George Stakes in Melbourne. Beforehand she proved a top Kiwi stayer, winning the New Zealand Cup and two Auckland Cups and she still holds the weight-carrying record for a mare in the latter race.

Last night’s inductions stretched even further afield to include a notable feat by a Kiwi jumper in England. Moifaa became the first “colonial-bred” to win England’s famous Grand National Steeplechase at Aintree in 1904.           

The full list of inductees are:

                                    NZ Racing Hall Of Fame inductees 2014


The ultimate stayer

Great Sensation won three Wellington Cups and another great stayer, while Il Tempo, won two Auckland Cups and a Wellington Cup. But Castletown won three Wellington Cups, plus an Auckland Cup, and he was placed in a Melbourne Cup and two Sydney Cups. He also won the New Zealand Derby as a three-year-old and proved his weight- for-age class with wins in the Kelt Capital Stakes and Caulfield Stakes. His courage over ground was indisputable.

Mr Tiz

Sprinter supreme

One of our greatest sprinters, Australian-bred Mr Tiz won Ellerslie’s Railway Handicap three times and New Zealand’s other major sprint, Trentham’s Telegraph Handicap twice. His remarkable third Railway win, after being checked to near last and charging home late, was matched, or in some eyes, overshadowed by his stunning defeat of Australia’s best sprinters in the Gr. 1 Galaxy at Randwick when coming from near-last 350 metres from the finish.


Beat the best of British

A big raw-boned gelding from Hawke’s Bay, Moifaa gained fame in 1904 as the first “colonial-bred” to win England’s famous Grand National Steeplechase at Aintree. It was many years before another New Zealand-bred emulated the feat. Moifaa subsequently raced for King Edward VII and he was part of the King’s funeral cortege.

Maurice McCarten

Up to Aussie’s best

A champion jockey in the 1920s and 1930s, Maurice McCarten won two NZ Jockey Premierships when aged 20 and 21, then moved to Sydney, where he rode three winners in his first appearance on an Australian course. He won many major races in Australia and turned to training in 1942, winning four Sydney Trainer’s Premierships before finishing second 10 times to Tommy (T.J.) Smith. Delta, Todman and Wenona Girl were among the champion horses he trained.


 Superb staying mare

Cuddle was the best staying mare of the 1930s, winning the 1935 New Zealand Cup and Auckland Cup, both by six lengths. She won the Auckland Cup again in 1936, under 9st 3lb (58.5kg), which is still a weight-carrying record for a mare. She then went to Australia, aged seven, and won the Doncaster and All Aged Stakes in Sydney, plus the St George Stakes in Melbourne. At both Auckland Cup Carnivals, she also won the King’s Plate and Clifford Plate.

Jim Cassidy

The Pumper is King!

Jim Cassidy was a record-breaking apprentice in New Zealand, where he won the 1981-82 Jockeys’ Premiership in just his fourth full season. After his famous 1983 Melbourne Cup win on Kiwi, he moved to Australia where he has performed at the top level for the last 30 years. He is one of only seven jockeys to win the Australian “grand slam” — the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, Cox Plate and Golden Slipper. On VRC Derby Day this season he became one of just three Australasian jockeys to win 100 Group Ones.

Syd Brown

Look out, Aussie!

Winner of two NZ training premierships in the 1960’s, Syd Brown became our most successful Aussie raider of the era, making lucrative trips with the likes of Redcraze, Summersette, Sailing Away, Dark Smudge, Daryl’s Joy (Cox Plate, VRC Derby), Hamua, Wood Court Inn and Classic Mission (AJC and VRC Derbys). Brown then moved to Australia and trained successfully at Warwick Farm with Triton and Kista being among his best performers. He has continually been a great friend and host to visiting Kiwis.

Rex Cochrane

Quiet Southland Achiever

From his Southland country base at Gore, Rex Cochrane became the first man to train 1000 winners in New Zealand. Versatile Cogitation, in the 1957 Grand National Steeplechase, was his first winner on his own account and Palimony, in July 1980, was his 1000th. He retired with a tally of 1520 wins.  Game Call, Enceeoh and Cogitation were his best jumpers, while Court Belle, Castle Flight and Yipp’s Secret were among his best on the flat.


Rewriting Dad’s Records

Zabeel followed on from his great sire Sir Tristram at Cambridge Stud and in some respects has outshone him. Aged 27, he has achieved four NZ and two Australian General Sire Premierships; 15 Dewar Awards (NZ and Australian progeny earnings combined); 43 Group One winners (two behind his sire) and 148 stakeswinners (Sir Tristram had 130). He has sired three Melbourne Cup winners, four Cox Plate winners, plus he has successful sire sons and grandsons and is an outstanding broodmare sire.