No Catching Historian in Zabeel Classic
Historian made all the pace and posted the second group I win of his career in the Zabeel Classic Dec. 26 at Ellerslie.
Dismissed in the wagering, the 6-year-old Choisir gelding repelled strong challenges from runner-up O'Fille and third-place finisher Soriano to prevail by a head under Matthew Cameron.
Soriano ranged up to engage the winner in early stretch but that opponent was ultimately bested by a nose for second by O'Fille, who made a determined bid for the lead sweeping around the home turn with history-seeking jockey Noel Harris aboard. The 58-year-old rider was trying to surpass 11-time British champion jockey Lester Piggott as the oldest jockey to win an international group I race, New Zealand's The Informant reports.
Although his career has been plagued by injuries, Historian was much the best on the day, covering 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles) in 2.05.99 while improving his record to five wins, including the Harcourts Thorndon Mile (NZ-I) in January, from 15 career starts.
The bay gelding, runner-up in the 2011 New Zealand Derby (NZ-I), initially suffered tendon problems but most recently has had issues with his feet. He trains exclusively on a treadmill.
"When you shoe him for a race it tickles his feet up a little and you have to poultice him up and hope for the best," trainer Gary Alton told The Informant. "It never ceases to amaze me how tough and genuine he is. He must have a big ticker, the big, gangly bugger he is. He's just so tough."
Group I winner and race favorite Survived settled near the back of the 10-horse field early and was never a threat in an eighth-place finish.
Bred in New Zealand by Bledisloe Bloodstock out of the winning Marauding mare Cyclonic, Historian won the Spring Sprint (NZ-III) Oct. 5 at Hastings and entered off a pair of unplaced finishes in group races at Ellerslie Nov. 30 and Riccarton Nov. 13.
Hong Kong-based owner Chun Hung Ngai paid $40,000 ($20,536 in United States funds) for Historian at the 2009 New Zealand Bloodstock premier yearling sale at Karaka.
Sire Choisir, a top international sprinter, stands in Australia for Coolmore. The son of Danehill Dancer is the sire of 59 stakes winners.
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