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Tapp's Travels: NZ Oaks & Zabeel

TrueNicks co-creator Byron Rogers and myself are on a three-week tour of New Zealand and Australia. Since Byron so proudly coined “Tapp’s Travels,” I’ll be nice and keep the title for this blog.

Our first stop was Saturday’s New Zealand Oaks (gr. I) at Trentham Racecourse in the southern part of New Zealand’s north island. The winner was Midnight Oil (TrueNicks A++), a daughter of Danehill stallion Keeper out of a Gilded Time mare. From the family of New Zealand 2,000 Guineas (gr. I) winner Danske, Midnight Oil looked good on form and was very much on her toes in the paddock before outrunning a nice group of fillies.

Midnight Oil wins the New Zealand Oaks (gr. I).

At Trentham we met some of New Zealand’s top industry figures, including John Thompson of Rich Hill Stud, who kindly welcomed Byron and I to his sponsored box. We also met Rex and Will Fell of Goodwood Stud, Gerald Fell of Fairdale Stud, and Huw Taylor and Peter Didham of Wellfield Lodge, the sponsors of the New Zealand Oaks.

After meeting with a few farms on Sunday, we made the long but picturesque drive north to Matamata (current filming location of The Hobbit), where we met up with Waikato Stud’s Mark Chittick. That evening turned out to be a good one for Waikato Stud stallion Pins, as his son Ambitious Dragon took the Hong Kong Derby.

It's a beautiful drive from Wellington to Matamata.

Monday was full of farm visits in the Waikato region. Highlighting these was Rich Hill Stud, where we saw successful stallion Pentire and his imposing barn-mate Any Suggestion, a son of Lion Hunter whose first crop are yearlings.

Pentire is a neat, elegant, and very correct son of Be My Guest.

The day was completed with a tour at Cambridge Stud. Here we met Keeper (sire of Midnight Oil) and the most illustrious Cambridge resident, Zabeel.

25-year-old Zabeel has sired 43 group I winners.

Next we’ll travel to Auckland and then on to Australia.

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