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"Bring on the Derby with Zarzuela"

"Overwhelmed" was the word that NZTBA Auckland branch member David Paykel used to explain his feelings following the sensational win of Zarzuela (Zabeel- Star Satire) in the Group Three H S Dyke Waikato Guineas.

"When a filly gets up and beats the boys it's pretty exciting. We were quite overcome watching her win with such ease."

David Paykel is both the breeder and owner of this brilliant Zabeel filly, who is now the firm favourite for the $2.2 million Telecom Derby in March.

It is a welcome change of luck for Paykel, as Star Satire ( Volksraad – Satirical), a group one winner of five races had her racing career cut short after being galloped on, and it looked like her breeding career was going to be pretty disastrous as well.

"She lost her first two foals, a filly by Fusaichi Pegasus and a colt by Redoute's Choice, so when she produced a nice live filly foal by Zabeel, I gambled on keeping her to race and sold the mare."

Zarzuela commenced her racing career last September and in seven starts has won three races and been placed twice. Her second win on Boxing Day was in the Group Two New Zealand Herald Great Northern Guineas before being freshened for her tilt at the Waikato Guineas, and onwards to the Derby.

Over the years Paykel has not always been so lucky and pragmatically describes himself as a "shy" breeder. Despite still retaining some lovely broodmares he is not overly keen on breeding due to his past misfortune and the time it takes to get a result. However with this lovely filly and a couple of mares racing, he now finds himself in a position that will keep him in the breeding game a little longer.

Besides Zarzuela he is currently racing Fairygem (Viscount-Gemscay) from the Peter Moody stable in Melbourne. A half sister to Penny Gem she is a winner of five races the latest being the listed Australia Day Cup, and So Pristine (Zabeel-Pristine Kristine) a last start winner of three races from nine starts in the Richard Collett stable.

David Paykel grew up in one of New Zealand's fore most business and breeding families. His father Maurice and uncle Sir Woolf Fisher established Fisher and Paykel. Maurice enjoyed success as an owner and breeder in partnership with his good friend Bob Morris of Cambridge, while Sir Woolf and Lady Fisher (nee Joyce Paykel) established the iconic Ra Ora Stud. It seemed a natural sequence of events that David would follow their footsteps.

"During the mid 60's I decided to have a shot at breeding, Dad gave me a mare to start off with and so did my uncle Sir Woolf Fisher. They obviously wanted me to learn about this breeding game the hard way as neither of the mares amounted to much, so I drifted in and out of breeding with only a modicum of success," he said.

"It wasn't until the 90's that I seriously came back into the game when I bought a mare called Daybreak Express (Duke Ellington-Good Exchange) in foal to Grosvenor, and that foal was Alacrity."

Alacrity, the 1996 Filly of the Year both here and in Australia, won five races including the Group One New Zealand Oaks and the Group Two Sir Tristram Classic.

"She was probably the best foal I bred out of Daybreak Express. I also bred from Alacrity and she in turn only had four live foals before she died, leaving a group two winner in Pendragon, and a Bertolini mare Alzira, currently in foal to O'Reilly, who won a race at Matamata and the race was cancelled! Not long after that she went amiss and didn't race again. That's how my luck runs.

Paykel has two other mares due to have their first foals this year, Natural Swinger (Viking Ruler –Capote Crossing), a winning half sister to Italia (Stravinsky) also bred by him, and she is in foal to No Excuse Needed. Italia won the group two Wakefield Challenge Stakes at two and this season's One Thousand Guineas winner at Caulfield, Irish Lights (Fastnet Rock), is the latest superstar from this family.

The other is Swaytime (Danzero- Pretty Wicked), in foal to Sir Percy."Swaytime is another of my fillies who didn't ever reach her full potential, she only had four starts and won at her second, and now she is at stud. I raced Pretty Wicked with some success but sold her mother a couple of years back as well.

"After my success racing Alacrity I bought Star Satire (Volksraad –Satirical) for $130,000 from the Karaka Premier draft of Windsor Park Stud, she is from the same family as Silver Nymph, Silver Wraith and Ray's Hope. She won five races for me including Group One Otaki-Maori Weight-for-age. She was retired to stud after being galloped on in the Group One New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes.

"I wasn't having much luck breeding from her either, she lost her first two foals, and when this Zabeel filly was born I decided to put my faith in her and sell her mother.

So Pristine is also by Zabeel, and is the third foal from the Spinning World mare Pristine Kristine (ex Blue Sage), and her third winner. Pristine Kristine is also the dam of Restored (Red Ransom) a listed winner in Singapore. Her fifth foal a filly by Commands was sold last week in the Premier Sale for $90,000 by Trelawney Stud.

"Michael Otto purchased Pristine Kristine for me, she comes from a marvellous family, and her third dam Tree of Knowledge (Sassafras) is the dam of Theatrical. She has a Librettist colt at foot and as he was a late foal we have left her empty.

"Another American bred mare, from a good stakes winning family that I am breeding from is Silk Ending (End Sweep – Silk Lily). She has left a couple of winners, and her Stravinsky colt, Golden Channel, was placed at his first start last month. (He is trained by Gai Waterhouse for Mr Yoshida of Shadai Farms fame.)

Silk Ending has a Pins filly at foot and is in foal to Darci Brahma.

"Finally there is Blushful, a Red Ransom daughter of the group one winner Stella Cadente (Centaine). She got off to a rocky start as well and lost her first foal to Flying Spur and now two years later has a colt foal by him at foot and is in foal to Testa Rossa," he added.

Although a number of the Paykel mares are mated in Australia they are all domiciled in New Zealand, with most of them residing at Trelawney Stud.

"I try to breed to stallions with some quality, they have to be good on type as well as performance and pedigree, but I won't go over the top with service fees," he added cautiously.

"I have a share in No Excuse Needed and I liked the look of Sir Percy this year. I have been a big supporter of Zabeel over the years and maybe Zarzuela is my reward for perseverance.

"Regardless she is a wonderful filly, she's so competitive and doesn't like getting beaten. Bring on the Derby, with Zarzuela and the other race mares, it could be a pretty exciting autumn," he said with obvious excitement and pride.

- Michelle Saba