Zoutori headlines stellar day for Zoustar

Widden Stud sire enjoys stellar stakes treble with Antony Thompson calling it a 'stunning' day

ZOUTORI winning the Newmarket Hcp at Flemington in Australia.
ZOUTORI winning the Newmarket Hcp at Flemington in Australia. Picture: Racing Photos

Widden Stud’s Zoustar (Northern Meteor) enjoyed the one of his best days since he joined the stallion ranks as he sired his second Group 1 winner courtesy of Zoutori’s (5 g ex Atotori by Haradasun) victory in the Newmarket Handicap (Gr 1, 1200m) at Flemington, while juveniles Glistening (2 f ex Beethog by Shovhog) and Lightsaber (2 c ex Dream Cirque by Dream Ahead) broke through at stakes level to take the stallion’s total stakes-winning tally to 20. 

Trained by Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra, Zoutori had always looked to be a Group 1 winner in the making, having already won three times at Group 2 level and his prize-money earnings now stand at $1,726,725. 

After jumping out smartly, Luke Currie kept the gelding in the middle of the track, racing with four rivals for company. As the two groups merged, with 300 metres left to travel, Currie asked Zoutori for his effort and he responded in fine style to storm past Indian Pacific - another son of Zoustar - to beat him by a neck. Amish Boy - who is by Zoustar’s barnmate Star Witness (Starcraft) - was a further three-quarters of a length away in third. 

Ellerton admitted to having pre-race nerves ahead of Saturday’s Group 1 sprint. 

"I don't get too nervous pre-race day, but I was a little bit toey today," Ellerton said. 

"Things have gone to plan with him from the Oakleigh Plate and he's really come on well. 

"He's a good, tough honest sprinter who is a dual Group 2 winner and now a Group 1 winner and he's got a great CV especially down the straight." 

In winning the Newmarket, Zoutori emulated Zoustar’s superstar daughter Sunlight, who landed the Group 1 in 2019. 

Raced in a partnership that includes Johnathan Munz, Zoutori is from the first crop of the Widden Stud-based sire and he was purchased by his trainers for $160,000 at the 2017 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the Amarina Farm draft and was bred by Frank Meduri. 

The gelding is one of two winners out of the unraced Haradasun (Fusaichi Pegasus) mare Atotori, who is herself a half-sister to South African Grade 3 winner Castlethorpe (Not A Single Doubt) and the dam of Grade 2 winner Quiet Oasis (Oasis Dream). 

Further back this is also the same family as Group 1 winner Park Express (Ahonoora) - the dam of multiple Group 1 winner and successful sire New Approach (Galileo). 

Meduri has bred the likes of Haradasun and Elvstroem (Danehill) through his association with blue hen mare Circles of Gold (Marscay) – who he part-owned - as well as Highland Reel (Galileo) and others in partnership with Coolmore.

Meduri said the result was tinged with sadness, having lost Atotori in a truck accident a few months ago. 

“It’s been a while between drinks and I’m a little overcome to be honest,’’ Meduri said.

“It’s a bit of mixed emotions, we lost the mare Atotori in a truck accident a few months ago so it’s a day of happiness yet tinged with sadness as well.

“I remember him as a foal Zoutori, he was always a nice enough type and I was so happy to see him go Matty (Ellerton) and for him to now be a Group 1 winner, it’s great to see.”

Later on in the day at Randwick, Zoustar was just denied a Group 1 double when Mizzy was narrowly beaten a nose by Savatiano (Street Cry) in the Canterbury Stakes (Gr 1, 1300m). 

LIGHTSABER winning the Mss Security Sires' Produce
LIGHTSABER winning the Mss Security Sires' Produce Picture: Colin Bull / Sportpix

Earlier on in the afternoon at Flemington, Lightsaber lived up to his trainer Peter Moody’s high expectations when he landed the VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (Gr 2, 1400m). 

The trainer had always had this race in mind for the colt since he broke his maiden at Sandown-Hillside in February and his confidence in his abilities rocketed when he followed up that victory with another win at the Melbourne track on February 17. 

Ridden on Saturday by Luke Nolen, the colt was sent straight to the front and barely saw another rival throughout the 1400 metre contest, finishing off strongly to beat Saif (Pride Of Dubai) by a length and a half, while Micro (Medaglia d’Oro) was a further nose away in third. 

The Blueblood Thoroughbreds-raced colt holds an entry for the ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m) at Randwick on April 3, but Moody was unwilling to commit to a start in the Group 1. 

"He's got an unbelievable constitution. He's just a real racehorse. He just does enough at home to keep you happy without excelling. He just brings it to the races and puts it on the stage,” said Moody. 

"You don't need luck when you've got no bums in front of you. You just need a will to win and he's certainly got that.

"We'll go home and think about it. Do we lift the bar again? He's had his fourth in his first prep but we saw all the superstars get beaten in Sydney earlier today and the Melbourne two-year-old form stood up. We won't run and hide, will we.

"We'll just hope first and foremost, the old chiche, we'll take him home and see how he pulls up and we'll have a chat to the ownership group.

"He's done a damn good job for the preparation if this is the end of it. But he's showing me no signs of that yet. We'll see what happens."

Purchased by JCS Racing for $80,000 at the Inglis Classic Yearling Sale in 2020 from the Aquis Farm draft, before being bought by Blueblood Thoroughbreds for $100,000 at the Inglis Ready 2 Race Sale later on that same year, Lightsaber has now won three of his four career starts. 

The colt is out of the first winner out of the unraced Dream Ahead (Diktat) mare Dream Cirque and she is herself a half-sister to stakes-placed Distant Rock (Medaglia d’Oro). 

Further back this is also the same family as Group 3-winning mare Piccadilly Circus (Royal Academy) - the dam of dual Group 1 winner and now successful sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill). 

In 2019 Dream Cirque produced a colt by Arrowfield Stud-based sire Pariah (Redoute’s Choice), while the following season she foaled a colt by Capitalist (Written Tycoon) and has most recently been covered by Tassort (Brazen Beau). 

JCS Thoroughbreds’ Shaun Nolen expressed his delight at the result. 

“He’s a showy sort of horse and he’s got plenty of ability so let’s hope he keeps winning,’’ Shaun Nolen said.

“That Ready2Race Sale at Inglis last year was really strong, plenty of good buyers and lots of city trainers which really helped and it’s great to see this bloke win three of his first four.

“We’ll have a draft again this year for sure at the Inglis Ready2Race, we’ve already picked up a couple of Merchant Navy’s, a Fastnet Rock, a Vancouver, a Denman and we’re not done yet so we’ll see how many we end up with.’’

GLISTENING winning the Yarraman Park Reisling Stks
GLISTENING winning the Yarraman Park Reisling Stks Picture: Martin King / Sportpix

With Lightsaber flying the flag for the juvenile colts, two-year-old filly Glistening also broke through at stakes level in the Reisling Stakes (Gr 2, 1200m) at Randwick and now looks set to take her chance in the Golden Slipper Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) at Rosehill on March 20. 

Like Lightsaber, Glistening dominated proceedings from the front and as the rivals began to stack up round the bend she kicked again impressively and scampered away to hold off the fast-finishing Swift Witness - who is by Zoustar’s barnmate Star Witness - eventually beating her by a nose. Trifacca (I Am Invincible) was a further three-quarters of a length away in third. 

Glistening is raced by James Harron’s filly’s syndicate and Harron was impressed with the manner of her victory and said the Michael and Richard-Freedman-trained filly would likely take her place in the Golden Slipper Stakes. 

“It’s a huge thrill, it’s wonderful for all the owners, who have been super supporters,” Harron said. “It is an incredible training effort by Michael and Richard Freedman. 

“We put together this filly’s partnership and this is my first Group winner and first year doing it. It was so exciting to see her come over the line. All things being equal and if she pulls up well, we will press on and she will take her chance in the Slipper.”

Michael Freedman said the plan was to press on to the Slipper in a couple of weeks. 

"It's hard to say,” said Freedman. “It wasn't probably the plan to lead today. I don't think she is necessarily jumping and sit on speed. 

“We were dictated a bit by the barrier but I gave Jean (Van Overmeire) the option to go forward and leading if he had to. I actually think she is a better filly sitting off the speed if she had to so let's let the dust settle. She is in the race so it gives us some options. James and I will have a chat about it and if she pulls up alright, we might have a shy at the stumps."

Purchased by her trainers and Harron for $260,000 at the 2020 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale from the Widden Stud draft, the filly is one of two winners out of Group 3 winner Beethog (Shovdog) and Widden’s Antony Thompson told Racing & Sports Bloodstock, while she might not have had the best pedigree, she was physically a standout. 

“Physically she was a very impressive Zoustar filly who moved very well,” said Thompson.  

“James Harron who is one of the best judges in the business bought her for the filly’s syndicate. 

“I guess they didn’t buy her on pedigree; they bought her on type, by a stallion they like. She certainly out-sold her pedigree, because she was a really eye-catching type, with a great action.”

In 2019, Beethog produced a sister to Glistening, before foaling a filly by fellow Widden Stud-based sire Nicconi (Bianconi) last season and she has most recently been covered by Widden’s new stallion Zousain (Zoustar). 

Thompson was understandably over the moon with Zoustar’s day and believes there is still much more to come from the relatively young stallion. 

“I have been pinching myself all day and it just kept getting better,” said Thompson. “To have two nice two-year-old stakes winners today, a colt and a filly, is lovely and a Group 1 winner and his second Newmarket winner after Sunlight and two Group 1 seconds. It really was quite a stunning day to add to Zoustar’s remarkable record. 

“Zoustar is a stallion that has always ticked all the boxes for us and he himself can get you elite racehorses and he is a good fertile stallion to breed to and continues to be very popular with the breeders. 

“The thing that sets him apart is that he is still so young and when you look at some of our leading stallions in this country, they have a good bit of age in them now. He is still a young stallion, with far fewer crops and statistically he is doing very well. 

“When you also look and see Star Witness having stakes runner-ups as well, it really was an amazing day for Widden as a whole.”

Zoustar is currently in Europe covering his third book of mares at Tweenhills Farm and Stud and David Redvers told Racing & Sports Bloodstock he had been receiving calls from breeders on Saturday morning looking to book their mares into the stallion. 

“I have had five people ring up this morning trying to book in mares off the back of it, which is a sign that people are becoming a lot more aware of what is going on around the world, probably thanks to things like Twitter as much as anything,” said Redvers. 

“We have got room for a couple of mares because it has been a bit slow this year with all the stallions as a result of COVID and Brexit and things like that, so there is still a little bit of elbow room. 

“For me personally, it gives me a huge amount of confidence because this was his weakest book of mares and to have two juvenile Group 2 winners come out of it so far is hugely exciting, because next year he will have his best bred bunch of two-year-olds and he will have his first European yearlings and I think he will go to another level and it just great doing it consistently at the top-level is just brilliant.”

Redvers said when Sunlight led home a trifecta for the stallion in the Coolmore Stud Stakes (registered as Ascot Vale Stakes) (Gr 1, 1200m) in 2018 it took his reputation to another level and Saturday’s results have further enhanced his already glowing record in both Australia and Europe. 

“He’s had the first and second in the Newmarket and two years ago he had the first three in the Coolmore and these are the races in Australia you need to be competitive and winning,” said Redvers. “But to be producing trifectas and quinellas in them is just amazing, you don’t even have to be half awake to realise there is something pretty special going on here. He’s pretty exceptional. He went to another level when he had the first three in the Coolmore and today has taken him to another level again I think.”

There is always a risk when shuttling an antipodean stallion to Europe and with Zoustar being by Northern Meteor (Encosta De Lago) you would not hold it against a European breeder to not be familiar with Zoustar’s bloodlines, but Redvers believes the stallion’s ability to consistently sire top-level performers means he gets the exposure in this hemisphere, making him easier to sell to breeders in Europe. 

“I think he would have been a difficult sell 10 years ago, but we have been able to make huge inroads over the past two years as a result of the exposure and if you are unfortunate enough to follow me on Twitter, you are not being given much option other than to take note of his success,” said Redvers.  

Zoustar stood his first season at Tweenhills for £25,000 (approx. $45,000), before being raised to £30,000 (approx. $54,000) in his second and is now back at £25,000 - a fee Redvers describes as ‘an open goal’ for breeders. 

“I am sending everything I can to him, unless it has been to him twice already and then it is going to Kameko,” said Redvers. “We went out specifically to buy fast mares and we’ve kept all our fast mares to go to him off the track and he is rewarding us with the physicals that we are getting. 

“At a fee of £25,000 - to me it is the greatest open goal of all time. It almost makes me chortle when people want to see what he is doing, because they are missing an open goal and when they decide they want to use him he is going to be standing at twice, if not three times the fee and be fully booked. 

“This is one of those commercial moments that those who are slightly switched on are in already.”


Racing and Sports



Flemington

Saturday, 06th March 2021

6
15:25
(local)

Seppelt Wines Newmarket Hcp (G1)

WT: 52kg Type: OPEN
AUD $1,252,100
1200m TURF GOOD
6
15:25
(local)
AUD $1,252,100
1200m GOOD

Seppelt Wines Newmarket Hcp (G1)

WT: 52kg Type: OPEN
FP Silk Horse, Age & Sex
Sire & Dam
Jockey
Trainer
SP
WT
1st 1. ZOUTORI (AUS) 5yo G
ZOUSTAR (AUS) - ATOTORI (AUS)
LUKE CURRIE
MATHEW ELLERTON & SIMON ZAHRA
$21.00
57.0kg
Pinecliff Racing (Mgr: J B Munz), J S Mapperson, L J Mapperson, D W Franklin, K W Franklin, A J Blackshaw, R E Bowen, Ms J Crewes, J C Crawford, C D Mathieson, L J Mugavin, N Brooks & D J McLaughlin

Sales Information

2nd 12. INDIAN PACIFIC (AUS) 4yo G
ZOUSTAR (AUS) - ROSARINO (AUS)
BRAD PARNHAM
NEVILLE PARNHAM
$21.00
54.0kg
N D Parnham, Mrs C A Parnham, R C Pearson, Bagden Pty Ltd Syndicate (Mgr: W D Biggs), Ridgeport Syndicate (Mgr: S E Guagliardo) & G W Webster (Snr)

Sales Information

3rd 16. AMISH BOY (AUS) 3yo C
STAR WITNESS (AUS) - SHEEZNODOUBT (AUS)
DEAN YENDALL
CIARON MAHER & DAVID EUSTACE
$81.00
52.0kg
Halo Racing Services Pty Ltd, Mrs Janice McKenna, D F Degenhardt, M R Fallon, A L Herbert, Mrs N Herbert, D W Lilley, Mrs S Lilley, Ciaron Maher Racing, F F Fairthorne, A Vincent, Ms D V Pope, Mrs S M Montague, Mrs F L Craig & R H Montague

Sales Information

4th 17. PRAGUE (AUS) 3yo C
REDOUTE'S CHOICE (AUS) - PURELY SPECTACULAR (NZ)
MICHAEL DEE
ANNABEL NEASHAM
$21.00
52.0kg

Sales Information

5th 18. SWATS THAT (AUS) 3yo F
SHAMUS AWARD (AUS) - IS IT A MOSQUITO (AUS)
JYE MC NEIL
Leon & Troy Corstens
$7.50
52.0kg
6th 13. PROPHET'S THUMB (AUS) 5yo M
I AM INVINCIBLE (AUS) - SET TO SKELTER (AUS)
CRAIG NEWITT
A & S FREEDMAN
$61.00
54.0kg

Sales Information

7th 15. SIRIUS SUSPECT (AUS) 6yo G
WANTED (AUS) - SIRIUS MISS (AUS)
JAMIE KAH
SAAB HASAN
$13.00
54.0kg
8th 10. BROOKLYN HUSTLE (AUS) 4yo M
STARSPANGLEDBANNER (AUS) - JOINT ASPIRATION (GB)
DAMIEN THORNTON
J WARREN & D KRONGOLD
$15.00
54.0kg
9th 7. FLIT (AUS) 4yo M
MEDAGLIA D'ORO (USA) - GLISSADE (AUS)
DAMIEN OLIVER
JAMES CUMMINGS
$21.00
54.5kg
10th 14. SEPTEMBER RUN (AUS) 3yo F
EXCEED AND EXCEL (AUS) - PITTSBURGH FLYER (AUS)
CRAIG WILLIAMS
CHRIS WALLER
$2.75
54.0kg

Sales Information

11th 2. ELITE STREET (AUS) 4yo G
STREET BOSS (USA) - ELITE ATEATES (AUS)
MARK ZAHRA
D MORTON
$31.00
56.5kg

Sales Information

12th 3. IMAGING (GB) 6yo G
OASIS DREAM (GB) - MIRROR LAKE (GB)
DAMIAN LANE
CHRIS WALLER
$8.50
56.5kg

Sales Information

13th 5. CELEBRITY QUEEN (AUS) 4yo M
REDOUTE'S CHOICE (AUS) - CELEBRITY MISS (AUS)
WILLIAM PIKE
G & A WILLIAMS
$21.00
56.0kg
14th 6. DALASAN (AUS) 4yo H
DALAKHANI (IRE) - KHANDALLAH (AUS)
J ALLEN
LEON MACDONALD & ANDREW GLUYAS
$31.00
55.0kg

Sales Information

15th 9. BOLD STAR (AUS) 5yo G
NEEDS FURTHER (AUS) - ALZAHRA STAR (AUS)
DANIEL STACKHOUSE
GORDON RICHARDS
$67.00
54.0kg

Sales Information

16th 11. HALVORSEN (AUS) 5yo G
MAGNUS (AUS) - FLOURISHING (AUS)
LACHLAN KING
R GRIFFITHS & M DE KOCK
$101.00
54.0kg
17th 8. STANDOUT (AUS) 4yo H
EXCEED AND EXCEL (AUS) - BAHIA (AUS)
MICHAEL WALKER
G RYAN & S ALEXIOU
$41.00
54.5kg