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Railings chains himself to Caulfield Cup history

Champion sire Zabeel, sire of Caulfield Cup winner Railings

Champion sire Zabeel, sire of Caulfield Cup winner Railings
In January 2003 I was working on the Ford Report, Trackside television's weekly window on the thoroughbred breeding industry. One of my assignments that month was to film yearlings at Haunui Farm, and one of the horses studmaster Mark Chitty chose to parade for our cameras that day was an Australian-born colt by champion sire Zabeel from the Palace Music mare La Suffragett. Bred by Haunui Farm and Noel Robinson, the colt was good-looking and strong, with an aura of something special about him.

Purchased for $300,000 by Roger James at the New Zealand Premier Sale, he was later transferred to John Hawkes after James closed his Melbourne stable. His owners cleverly named him Railings, in honour of the suffragettes who chained themselves to railings in protest against laws that prevented women from voting. The name also honours the colt's famous grand-dam, 1984 Australian Horse of the Year Emancipation.

Railings had already lived up to the promise of his looks and pedigree by winning the AJC Metropolitan G1 two weeks ago. That took his record to six wins from a dozen starts, and his sire's number of individual Group One winners to thirty-three. Yesterday he went a few steps further, delivering a powerful finish to take out the $2.5 million MRC Caulfield Cup 2400m G1 for Australians Tony Pistikakis and Michael Lam, and New Zealanders Glen Owen and Gerard Peterson. The win was perfectly timed for Peterson who held his 50th birthday party in Auckland last night, and has been one of the country's luckiest owners, enjoying previous success in Melbourne with Second Coming (Victoria Derby) and Brew (Melbourne Cup).

Railings is the third son of Zabeel to win the Caulfield Cup after Sky Heights (1999) and Might And Power (1997).

However, the Cup wasn't the only Kiwi-connected success on Caulfield's big day. Three-year-old colt Pendragon (Elnadim-Alacrity by Grosvenor), bred by David Paykel, won the MRC Norman Robinson S. 2000m G3. He was sold to DGR Thoroughbred Services for $180,000 at the 2004 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale and hasn't been out of the money in seven starts for the Bart Cummings stable. He won the STC Gloaming S. G3 last month and ran second to Hotel Grand in the AJC Spring Champion S. G1 two weeks ago.

The Coongy Handicap 2000m G3 was won by four-year-old horse Activation (Zabeel-Coogee Walk by Success Express), bred by Marie Leicester, Taupo and passed in at the 2003 Australian Easter Yearling Sale. It was Activation's sixth win in 14 starts. He had previously won the BTC Rough Habit Plate LR and came to Caulfield after a win at Flemington a fortnight ago.

And finally, the Sky Blue Plate, a $A75,000 2000m race for three-year-olds, was won by the filly Astronomia(King's Best-Astralita by Kenny's Best Pal), bred in New Zealand by Joan Egan and Trelawney Stud. It was her second win in ten starts that have included a fourth in the Flight Stakes G1 and two seconds at Group 3 and Listed Stakes level as an autumn two-year-old in Sydney. Astronomia's dam was a $A100,000 purchase from the 2000 Australian Broodmare Sale. The filly herself was sold by her breeders to Darley Australia for $A280,000 at the 2004 Australian Easter Yearling Sale. She's trained by Gai Waterhouse for a Darley Australia Syndicate.

- Susan Archer


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