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From zero to hero - the rise of Zed

5 min read

Written by Paul Vettise

Born of royal parents, the career of Zed (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}) has taken more twists and turns than a Dick Francis novel. After a roller-coaster ride, he’s literally come from nowhere to sit atop of the New Zealand Sires’ Premiership.

The once discarded stallion has produced 15 individual winners, more than double that of his closest rival Iffraaj (GB) (Zafonic {USA}), and while he may not be out on his own at the end of the season, his achievements remain extraordinary. Should he ever require a theme tune, ‘The Long and Winding Road’ would be a perfect fit.

Zed is currently sitting atop the NZ Sires' Premiership

The Beatles hit pretty much sums up the life and times of the Grangewilliam Stud resident. But he’s endured and overcome. He’s had his wild and windy nights and been alone before he came to the door of Mark and Jane Corcoran’s farm.

“He’s absolutely flying now, but it wasn’t always like that,” Mark Corcoran said. “Sam Williams had him at Little Avondale for the first couple of seasons before he sent him south.”

“He’s absolutely flying now, but it wasn’t always like that.” - Mark Corcoran.

In Williams’ defence, he had to make room at that time for Nadeem (Redoute’s Choice) and when there were no takes for Zed so he was packed off to Erewhon (read that backwards to get a clearer picture) Station in South Canterbury. The 35,000-acre beef and sheep property nestles among the Southern Alps.

“He was there for two years and was serving Clydesdales and just a handful of thoroughbred mares,” Corcoran said. “I noticed that a few of the Zeds were going alright so I contacted Sam about getting him and he was thinking the same thing, bringing him back, so I was lucky enough to get him off the hills.

“Horses like Survived, Usanity and Absolute Champion were all going really well and when he got here Zed got the biggest book in New Zealand that season, 160 mares. The phone was ringing red hot.

Zedinator winning at Caulfield

“Horses like Survived, Usanity and Absolute Champion were all going really well and when he got here Zed got the biggest book in New Zealand that season, 160 mares.” – Mark Corcoran.

“At this stage, he won’t get a huge book but he’ll keep picking up mares at his $4000 fee. We’ve found a lot of people tend to book the day before and I think he’ll go close to 80 mares this season and he deserves it.”

Bred and originally raced by Jomara Bloodstock of Humidor (NZ) (Teofilo {IRE}) fame, Zed won one of his four starts for Murray Baker and was a one-time G1 New Zealand Derby favourite before injury curtailed his career. As a son of the G1 International S., winner Emerald Dream (Danehill {USA}, he brought rich bloodlines to the serving barn.

The Danehill factor

“Sam was given a half-share from the racing syndicate when he stood him and they all still support him,” Corcoran said. “He’s got a great temperament and there’s a lot of Danehill about him. He’s quite a compact horse, he’s not big but can throw plenty of size.”

Zed’s latest success story is the recent Listed Wanganui Guineas winner Bobby Dazzler, also bred and co-owned by Jomara’s John and Mark Carter and their sister Rachael.

“They’re such versatile horses, they’ve won at 1200 metres and over ground.” Corcoran said. “He’s had jumpers and wet-trackers as well, but that’s really been to his detriment.

“They go on top of the ground and he’s had a Group 1 winner in Survived. He’s served all sorts of mares and keeps leaving good horses. He’s just so versatile and there’s a lot more to come.

“He’s an easy stallion to have and a great server. He’s very fertile and last season he only missed one.”

Strong support for Derryn

While Zed has had to overcome adversity and isolation to establish himself, Corcoran is hoping a much smoother path awaits his new acquisition Derryn (Hinchinbrook), who will stand his first season at Grangewilliam at $5000 + GST.

Trained by David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, he won the G2 Arrowfield Stud Sprint and placed in the G1 Doomben 10,000. He spent the bulk of his career at the sharp end with all but one of his starts in black type company.

Derryn

“He’s got over 90 mares booked to him at this stage,” Corcoran said. “That’s given him a really good chance. He’s good value and we’ve sold breeding rights in him for the first four year and Windsor Park Stud have come in as well as Hallmark Stud and Curraghmore and Scott Williams and John O’Brien. It’s pretty exciting.”

Derryn is out of Munhro (Lonhro) with the G1 Golden Slipper and G1 Myers Classic winner Forensics (Flying Spur) a headline act in the pedigree and it's also the stallion family of Not A Single Doubt (Redoute's Choice, Snippets (Lunchtime {GB}) and Zoustar (Northern Meteor).

Mark Corcoran and Derryn