With NZ’s current champion sire Savabeel being a son of Zabeel, the omens are looking good for four-time Gr.1 winner Preferment, a son of Zabeel who begins his stud career at Brighthill Farm in 2017. Rated Australia’s Champion Stayer in 2015-16, he won more than $3.4m.
Few could have predicted the sire line of English Derby winner Sir Ivor (Sir Gaylord- Attica by Mr Trouble) would survive via a son who won just two of his 19 starts and struggled to get mares when he retired to stud in NZ in 1976. Yet that horse, Sir Tristram (IRE) (ex Isolt by Round Table), left 45 Gr.1 winners among his 140SW including Zabeel (NZ) (ex Lady Giselle (FR) by Nureyev), who shone just as brightly as his legendary sire at Sir Patrick Hogan’s Cambridge Stud and took the line to even greater heights.
Now, 41 years on, Zabeel’s Cox Plate-winning son Savabeel is the current champion sire in NZ (for the third year in succession) and another son, Reset, is a great success in Australia where he has left several Gr.1 winners including a sire son in Rebel Raider.
Zabeel grandson Lonhro, has won a champion sire title in Australia and that horse’s young son, the Golden Slipper-Gr.1 winner Pierro claimed the first crop sires’ title in the season just ended.
Even more remarkable is the fact that Lonhro has taken the line back to the northern hemisphere when reverse shuttling for Darley. It’s quite an extraordinary feat by this sire line and one where four-time Gr.1 winner Preferment (NZ) could easily add an exciting new chapter. The son of Zabeel is about to cover his first book at Nick and Ann-Marie King’s Brighthill Farm in the Waikato and his fee of $12,500 + GST looks remarkable value for a horse with his pedigree and performance.
A $190,000 Karaka Premier yearling purchase by Sydney’s champion trainer Chris Waller from the Cambridge Stud draft in 2013, the colt, from the Flying Spur mare Better Alternative, had two runs as a late two year-old, finishing third over 1300m at Sandown second time out.
He was second in three of his first four starts at three, including in the Listed Geelong Classic, before breaking his maiden next time out in the VRC Derby-Gr.1 (2500m) running 2:37.81 and coming home the final 600m in 36.01. Given a break, he was a close second at his third start back in the Rosehill Guineas-Gr.1 to Volkstok’n’barrell before an unplaced run in the ATC Derby on a soft (7) track.
Off the scene until the following September, he won the Hill Stakes-Gr.2 (2000m) on a soft track at Randwick second up and then went to Flemington where he won the Turnbull Stakes-Gr.1 (2000m) from Royal Descent in 2:01.34 (35.02) before finishing mid-field in the Cox Plate and unplaced in the Melbourne Cup.
He was mid-field in the HK Vase-Gr.1 after a short let up and was then given another break, resuming on February 27, 2016 with a fourth in the Chipping Norton-Gr.1 behind stable mate Winx and then travelled to Flemington to take on the best weight for age performers over 2000m in the $1.5m Australian Cup-Gr.1 on March 16, landing the money from Awesome Rock and Rising Romance after cruising in second for most of the race, running 2:03.96 and coming home the final 600m in 33.97, a time many sprinters would be proud of.
His winning run continued next start, this time in the BMW-Gr.1 (2400m) at Rosehill two weeks later. This time he took the lead 400m from home and held off Who Shot Thebarman in the $1.52m feature for a fourth Gr.1 success. Unplaced on a soft track in the Queen Elizabeth, he was sent for a spell.
The best of four starts in his next prep later in the year were fourths in the Chelmsford-Gr.2 and Turnbull- Gr.1. Although he won a 1200m Rosehill trial in March this year, the best of four runs in 2017 came in Queensland when fourth in the Hollindale-Gr.2 and fourth in the P.J. O’Shea Stakes-Gr.2 at his final two starts in May and June.
Preferment retired with five wins, four of them Gr.1, four seconds, a third and six fourths in in 29 starts, earning $3,432,732 for his large syndicate of owners and was rated Australia’s Champion Stayer in 2015-16. He’s a horse Chris Waller described at four as having “a bit of the wow factor about him”.
“We’d been on the lookout for a stallion since Azamour died but we were determined to sit it out if necessary to find the right one,” Nick King said. “Last November Sir Patrick Hogan suggested to us we should try to get Preferment and for him to say that gave us even more confidence. “We are standing the horse on behalf of his owners, they wanted him in NZ and will be supporting him with mares.
We think he’s a truly exciting prospect. He was a spectacular racehorse and is a very tidy, athletic horse. Really, his pedigree combined with his record, speaks for itself.”
As well as being a son of Australian Guineas- Gr.1 winner Zabeel, sire of 1100 winners (163SW), including Australian Horses of the Year like Octagonal and Might and Power and a champion sire and broodmare sire, Preferment hails from a female line with a long and distinguished history in Australasia.
He traces to the German bred mare White and Blue (1876, Monseigneur-Sister to Blue Gown by Beadsman), family 1o, and from a branch of this line whose members include the Golden Slipper winner and sire Pago Pago. But there is Golden Slipper-Gr.1 action much closer in this pedigree as Preferment’s dam, Better Alternative, a winner at 1200m at two and later at 2000m, is by the Golden Slipper winner and champion sire Flying Spur (Danehill (USA)-Rolls (USA) by Mr. Prospector).
Her three winners also include Preferment’s sister Rezoned, successful in the SA Fillies’ Classic-Gr.3 and the Lonhro gelding Loophole, winner of eight races and $470,000 and Listed fourth in the Wyong Gold Cup.
Better Alternative is a half-sister to Villiers Stakes-Gr.2 winner Dances on Waves and they are among five winners from Ancient Lights, six wins 1000m-1600m, a daughter of another Golden Slipper winner in Canny Lad (Bletchingly-Jesmond Lass by Lunchtime (GB)), broodmare sire of 12 Gr.1 winners including champion sire Redoute’s Choice (Danehill).
Preferment’s third dam Hello Lottie was unraced but produced 11 winners from 13 foals including the Gr.1 winner Ancient Song, also by Canny Lad and dam of Listed winner Tampiko (Lonhro).
She is a daughter of the Caulfield Guineas-Gr.1 winner Beau Sovereign, a very good sire in WA and a son of champion NZ sire Sovereign Edition (IRE) (Sovereign Path), whose descendants could be a good match for Preferment with horses like Melbourne Cup-Caulfield Cup winner Gurner’s Lane bred on the Sir Tristram/Sovereign Edition Cross, a nick that provided 63 winners from 96 runners, 17 of them (20%) stakes winners. The mating of mares featuring this cross with Preferment will provide a double dose of this potent mix.