All around the world, black type races are recognised as being of the highest quality – they are our equivalent of test match rugby and they start from the top with Group I (1), to Group II (2), Group III (3) and then Listed.
When a horse wins one of these races, it gets ‘black type’ (aka bold text) on its pedigree. The more black type a horse has on its pedigree, the better in terms of its value, or the value of any offspring it may produce.
“Weight-for-age” (WFA) is one of the conditions the race is run under.
It means that a horse will carry a set weight in accordance with its age, as determined by a pre-defined scaling system. This weight varies depending on the horse’s age, its sex, the time of year the race is being run and its distance.
WFA could be considered as a form of handicapping as it aims to equal out the playing field for the runners in the race – generally speaking, a younger horse wouldn’t be able to run as far as fast than an older horse would, so it would be given less weight to carry. Same as for the girls – fillies and mares get a further weight allowance.
The race’s namesake, Zabeel, won seven races himself (with earnings in excess of AUS$1.1m) before retiring to stud where he sired (fathered) an incredible 153 individual stakes winners of 350 stakes races.
Zabeel passed away exactly one month shy of his 30th birthday and now rests in peace alongside his sire, Sir Tristram, at Cambridge Stud.
Prior to being the Zabeel Classic, the race was known as the Auckland Classic and later, the Japan Racing Association Classic.
It’s 2000m long
This year’s it worth $240,000 – up from $200,000 in 2020 – with the winning horse earning $138,000 of that (we also pay stakes up to 10th place)
Last year’s winner was Concert Hall who was ridden by Vinnie Colgan and trained by Roger James and Robert Wellwood
The race was first run in 1985
Check out some of the race’s previous winners here
2021’s edition of the Cambridge Stud Zabeel Classic will be held here at Ellerslie as part of the famed SkyCity Boxing Day Races (26 December 2021).