Peter McKenzie called it. When contacted last week for a story about the first winner for his resident stallion Fabulous he said call back next week when there would be another one to talk about.
Seven days later and the son of High Chaparral, whose oldest crop are now three-year-olds, has three wins to his credit.
The flag bearer for Fabulous is the McKenzie-trained Happy Star (x Carlton Queen) who won at Trentham in testing conditions on June 8 before backing up seven days later with a convincing win at Awapuni over a mile on a Heavy11 track.
Adding to the tally was the Nadine Kelly-trained Flyingflynn (x Iamthewind) who broke his maiden at Waipa on Sunday.
McKenzie said he had no qualms about backing up the gelding who had the fitness to deal with the quick turnaround.
“I was confident he could handle it because he has had a long preparation,” McKenzie said.
“The first win was not something that would have exhausted him, he bounced back immediately.
“His pedigree reflects a horse that could maintain that sort of pressure, even at this time of year.”
Happy Star is the first foal from Zed mare Carton Queen who died in 2017 and has a two-year-old filly by Fabulous left to run. Bred by Carl Muollo, Happy Star is a horse McKenzie knows well as he has been on the property since day one.
“He has never really left the property,” McKenzie said.
“His first big trip away was when he went to Trentham earlier this year for his debut.”
The winning double has been a welcome distraction for Muollo who has been unwell of late.
“It was good for Carl as he has had ill health lately,” McKenzie said.
“The first win had him over the moon and when he won again on Saturday he was even more ecstatic. He said it was one of the best days of his life.
“It coincided with his retirement as the president of the Island Bay Bowling Club and they had a big day there. No doubt all the followers of the Island Bay Bowling Club enjoyed the festivities of the horse’s win.”
Happy Star’s record indicates he will only get better with time and over distance. He is from a family of middle distance and staying performers including Champion stayer and older horse in 2004-5 Zabeat (Rhythm – Zabest) and Listed Weribee Cup (2000m) winner Te Akau Pearl (Sir Tristram – Czaravina).
Flyingflynn is another horse that McKenzie is familiar.
“I broke him in,” McKenzie said.
“They were having trouble handling him but he responded well to the right sort of handling.
“As a young horse he was an outstanding individual so it is not surprising he can gallop.”
Bred by Rainbow Lodge Stud NZ, Flyingflynn is another that hails from a family that performs over ground including the stakes placed Scherzoso (Bianconi – Café del Mar) and Outgun (Grosvenor – Nimble Fingers).
McKenzie is not surprised the winners are coming for Fabulous, a horse he has always seen potential in.
“Fabulous showed a lot of promise early on,” McKenzie said.
“I had him entered for the Ready To Run Sale but a few weeks before Carl Muollo came to me and asked why I was selling him as we both needed to race a good one.
“So I pulled him out of the sale. Then he broke his shoulder a couple of weeks later.
“I would not allow the veterinary surgeons to euthanise him so I kept him in a box for the year and the shoulder mended. It was a great reflection of the horse’s temperament that he was able to put up with that and be confined for that length of time.”
Fabulous, who was unraced due to the injury, is out of Royal Highness mare City of Dreams ( -Betelgeuse), a sister to Sculptor, who won seven races for McKenzie, including the Gr.3 Saab Quality at Flemington.
He then finished a respectable ninth behind Efficient in the Gr.1 Melbourne Cup in his final appearance before his retirement
“It is a family of tough horses,” McKenzie said.
“I bought his grandam from Trelawney and Troy corporation as a yearling. She had been brought out in utero from the States and descended from a very good internationally known broodmare called Pocahontas.
“At the time I had a stallion called Tom’s Shu, who was by Tom Rolfe whose dam was Pocahontas, and I wanted to double that up. Unfortunately I only bred two colts.
“He is bred to leave middle distance and staying horses. I don’t expect him to leave early two-year-olds. Most of his stock show the necessity to wait until they are three, which you would expect with the pedigree he has got.”
With sons of High Chaparral in demand at stud Fabulous McKenzie is expecting interest in his stallion to grow.
“He is by High Chaparral who is the leading sire of sires in the world,” he said. “Hopefully now he will become a sire of commercial value.”
Fabulous will stand at Strathcarron, just out of Levin, for $500 in 2019. -NZTBA