Five years after Zoustar won the Group 1 Coolmore Stud S., there could be as many of four of the Widden stallion's first crop contesting the feature 3-year-old sprint at Flemington on Saturday, including his latest stakes-winner Charge.
Charge was a strong all-the-way winner in the G3 1300 Australia (Red Anchor) S. at Moonee Valley on Saturday, becoming the fourth Group winner from Zoustar's first crop.
Widden's Marketing and Stallions Nomination Manager Ryan McEvoy said the success of Zoustar so early in his career is terrific vindication for the faith when the investment was made ahead of his Coolmore Stud S. win, five years ago.
"He's everything we hoped he would be. He's such a good-looking horse. You put your neck on the line and you buy these horses for big money. But to have his fourth group winner from his first crop is great," McEvoy told TDN AusNZ.
"He might have three, maybe four runners in the Coolmore, which is a phenomenal effort for a first crop. Zousain, Lean Mean Machine, Sunlight and potentially Charge, so that's a phenomenal feat to have that in your first crop."
"He's everything we hoped he would be. He's such a good-looking horse. You put your neck on the line and you buy these horses for big money. But to have his fourth group winner from his first crop is great." - WIdden Stud's Ryan McEvoy
The Coolmore Stud S. tradition
The Coolmore was also the race where Zoustar's sire, the ill-fated Northern Meteor, announced himself as a star.
"It took us a while to get over losing Northern Meteor. He had the world at his feet and we lost him at such a young age." - Ryan McEvoy
McEvoy said the loss of Northern Meteor to a fatal bout of colic was a devastating blow for Widden, but one they were determined to bounce back from.
"It took us a while to get over losing Northern Meteor. He had the world at his feet and we lost him at such a young age. We were determined to get our hands on his best son and Zoustar had just put his hand up," he said.
"We were able to get that deal done, and to see him now, outperforming Northern Meteor at this stage of his career is really satisfying for everyone involved."
'A cool horse '
Widden stand nine stallions, but McEvoy admits that Zoustar is a particular favourite.
"He's such a cool horse. If he was a human, you’d like to have a beer with him. Nothing really bothers him. He's shuttling to Tweenhills Stud in England next season and he's the perfect horse to shuttle," he said.
"He's got the best temperament, and you see that temperament coming out in his stock. That's why trainers have got behind them."
"Trainers love them, they have got the best attitudes. They go home and put their heads in the feed bin and they stick their head out of the box the next day, wanting to go to work again." - Ryan McEvoy
"Trainers love them, they have got the best attitudes. They go home and put their heads in the feed bin and they stick their head out of the box the next day, wanting to go to work again."
McEvoy said the emergence of Charge as a Group winner is full credit to trainer Chris Waller as well as jockey Hugh Bowman, who let him roll along in front at Moonee Valley after crossing from a wide barrier.
"Credit to Chris and his team. Hughie rated him well again yesterday. Maybe that's the way to ride him, let him roll along. When you look at the sectionals, I thought he went hard early, he didn’t get a soft split. I thought it was a super win, hopefully it sets up a good week for Zoustar."
Milestone for Sebring
It was also a good day for one of Widden's other stallions, Sebring, who celebrated a milestone 50th stakes winner with the John Sadler trained Shoko in the G3 Powerflo Solutions (Tesio) S.
"He's been in hot form the whole way through the spring," McEvoy said of Sebring.
"To see that filly, who was a really nice yearling, a $300,000 yearling, at only her sixth or seventh start, to knock off a group win like that was just a super thing for those guys."
"It's a testament to the breed. They are certainly so versatile. You can buy a Sebring with confidence that they can be a 2-year old and a horse that trains on. That's your classic Sebring."
McEvoy predicted that as the youngest stallion inside the top ten on the Champion Sires table last season, there were bigger and better things to come for Sebring.
"With big books to come through, I think we’ll see him competing for the champion sire titles over the next five or so years, with the depth of horses he's got and the versatility."
"He's just been a wonderful stallion, and still in his infancy."