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Stark South & Zabeel dominate Lion Red Auckland Carnival

With five wins between them, including the three Group One features, Cambridge Stud's Zabeel and Fayette Park's Stark South were the star sires of the four-day carnival at Ellerslie.

St Reims and Lafleur, both from Zabeel's 1999 crop, won the Mercedes New Zealand Derby G1 and New Zealand Bloodstock Royal S. G2 respectively, and Westbury Stud's up-and-coming stayer Zafar won impressively over 2100 metres on the first day. Lafleur, from the Green Desert mare Desert Lily, is raced by her breeders Peter & Philip Vela, who will offer her full brother at the New Zealand Premier Sale.

St Reims, a full brother to the outstanding Group One winner and courageous 1998 Melbourne Cup runner-up Champagne, was bred by Sir Patrick and Justine, Lady Hogan. Their Cambridge Stud draft for the Premier Sale includes a full sister to this pair, and to Group One-placed Sursum Corda.

Stark South's five-year-old son Hail returned to the scene of his 2000 Derby victory and comfortably won the Zabeel Classic G1, a day after Bodie, also from Stark South's second crop, won the Lion Red Auckland Cup G1. David & Masey Benjamin's Fayette Park bred both horses: Hail on their own account after leasing his dam from Hazel & Barry Clevely, Bodie in partnership with Kevin Mischefski.

Zabeel stands at a fee of $110,000, has won 13 stallion premierships and is now the sire of 21 individual G1 winners among 58 stakeswinners from nine crops of racing age. He has 52 lots catalogued for the upcoming New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale.

Stark South commands a $6,500 fee and now has two Group One winners among a total of four individual stakeswinners from five crops of racing age. Yearling buyers interested in his progeny must bid at the Select and Festival Sales because he's not represented in the Premier Sale.

Desert Sun, who stood five seasons in New Zealand before his sale to Australia in 1999, sired the winners of four races during the Carnival, including the Sky City Railway Stakes G1, taken out by the brilliant four-year-old mare Egyptian Raine. She is her sire's third Group One winner, after Sunline and La Bella Dama. Although all but two of Desert Sun's 14 stakeswinners to date are fillies, his other three winners at Ellerslie were geldings: Desert Sheikh, Sun Tripper and Single Sun. He has three yearlings catalogued for Karaka, among them a Premier Sale filly from Tasmanian Group 3 winner and Hong Kong International Vase G2 placegetter Sunny Lane.

Faltaat, with only 93 live foals from four crops of racing age, enjoyed Carnival success with Sedecrem, winner of two races including the Group 2 Highview Stud Trophy, four-year-old mare Stella Doro and Gwen's Rules who put up a game run for second in the Sky City Railway S. G1. Faltaat stands at a fee of $8,500 at Westbury Stud, Auckland and has sired four southern hemisphere stakeswinners from 31 starters. He has sixteen yearlings catalogued for the New Zealand Select and Festival Yearling Sales.

Eight Carat Classic G2 winner Natalie Wood, from the Star Way mare Westside Story, became Yachtie's sixth stakeswinner, and second for the season after Dance On Deck. Based at The Oaks, Cambridge at a 2002 fee of $4,000, he has no yearlings catalogued for the New Zealand sales. (For those who remember film star Natalie Wood's most famous role and the circumstances of her death, the filly is most cleverly, if sombrely, named.)

Windsor Park Stud dominated the action among first crop sires. One-season shuttler Tale Of The Cat got his second southern hemisphere stakeswinner when Ubiquitous won the Eclipse S. G3; and Danske registered his first winner, the smooth-running gelding Tadan who also became the first winner from a Volksraad mare. Volksraad himself had a pair of four-year-old winners, Volks Lad and on the last day, Desperate who headed a Volksraad trifecta over 1400 metres. Last season's champion New Zealand sire, Volksraad has 36 yearlings catalogued for Karaka 2003, twenty-two of them in the Premier Sale.

The only other stallion with two winners at the Carnival was Manntari. His six-year-old son Jockular won over hurdles, and his five-year-old daughter Dawn Till Dusk was successful at 2200 metres.

Acknowledgements for statistical data: Arion Pedigrees & New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing


- Susan Archer