Thoroughbred stallion Zed’s fanclub is growing as the son of Zabeel hits his straps with Group One winning progeny and gritty stayers, but he also has his supporters a world away from the racetrack on a high country New Zealand station.
At the start of his breeding career, Zed was standing at a fee of $500 at Little Avondale Stud, a move designed to get foals on the ground. But he had to go when the stud acquired another stallion, Nadeem, as there wasn’t room for the both of them. As the sire of late-maturing progeny, “no thoroughbred stud was prepared to take him,” stud principal Sam Williams said.
Zed’s move to Erewhon Station in the Canterbury high country was negotiated by his brother, George Williams, who knew Erewhon owners Erin Cassie and Colin Drummond.
Zed has made a lasting mark at Erewhon, where he was based in the 2012/13 season. Erin Cassie said Zed was “a really lovely stallion who was a pleasure to work with”.
“We loved having him here,” she said.
Erewhon used Zed for breeding cross-breds, putting him over the station’s Clydesdale and Clyde-Gisborne cross mares.
“We are really particular about blood-over-bone breeding with the lighter stallion over the heavy mare. Obviously our climate isn’t ideal for a hot breed like a thoroughbred and their need for covers! So our goal was to breed a top-quality half Clyde-TB stallion who we could then use across our Clyde/Gisborne mares as a like-type to like-type cross,” Cassie said.
“We were lucky to breed a stunning black colt ‘Mike’ out of our best moving Clydesdale mare ‘Maggie’. He has had two junior seasons now and has produced some really nice foals. We can’t wait to see them come of age.”
Zed is now at Grangewilliam Stud, where he commands a fee of $4000. After being injured in a floating accident as a two-year-old, he had four starts at three and four, winning just one race. But his pedigree is impressive: His sire, Zabeel, needs no introduction, and his dam, Emerald Dream, is by Danehill.
The 16-year-old stallion is now the sire of eight stakes winners, including Gr.1 Makfi Challenge Stakes winner Survived, and his son Zedinator stormed home from the rear of the field to win a major handicap at Caulfield in Australia late last month. He boasts a strike-rate of 4.6 per cent stakes winners to runners.
Grangewilliam Stud principal Mark Corcoran said the Zeds are “pretty versatile horses”.
“The Poormanzabeel, he’s won three of his last four now and it was a pretty tough and determined win on Saturday. Horses like Verry Flash and his sibling Verry Elleegant are progressive as well.
“Zed Em has won more than A$600,000 and is a high-class jumper, along with the likes of Wee Biskit and Zedeedudadeeko.”
Zed served his biggest book of mares — 168 — in 2013 after his working holiday at Erewhon Station.
“He got that good crop with Survived, Usanity and Ambitious Champion, and those ones really started shaping up. That’s when I started noticing them and thought he would be worth standing,” Corcoran said.
“By the time we had signed him up he was absolutely flying, and he ended up serving the most mares of any stallion that season. He got a really good book of mares that year and it’s all starting to come to fruition now.
“That big crop of foals are now four-year-olds. I think he has good numbers coming through now, they are just slow-maturing horses that take a bit of developing, but when you give them the time they are good horses.”
Additional reporting: NZ Thoroughbred Marketing