Jockey James McDonald would have gained a good degree of satisfaction from afar when Historian landed the G1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie on Thursday.
McDonald had partnered Historian when they finished seventh in the G2 Coupland Mile at Riccarton last month and he gave trainer Gary Alton good reason to set his sights on the Boxing Day weight-for-age feature.
“James said he would love to ride him in a Group 1 over 2000 metres,” Alton said. “I was a bit sceptical but he was right.”
Historian’s previous four wins, including the Group 1 Thorndon Mile, had been at distances up to 1600 metres. But after making the pace for the entire 2000 metres, he produced a final effort for Matt Cameron to hold out the strong finishing bursts of O’Fille and Soriano.
“The idea was, if he got to the front, to put the pressure on at the half-mile and he kept rolling along,” Alton said. “He got well and truly headed but he’s got a lot of ticker and we only ever work him on the water walker. We knew he was well and it was a really good effort.”
“It’s been a long time between drinks for me in a Group 1 and it’s good to get one on such an honest horse and he deserves it,” Cameron said. “He had a nice breather down the back. He’s got a pretty big head and is hard to get past.
Historian (6g Choisir – Cyclonic by Marauding) was a $40,000 buy at the 2009 NZB Karaka yearling sale. He had been written off as a racing prospect after suffering a serious tendon injury in Hong Kong as a three year-old after finishing runner-up in the 2011 New Zealand Derby.
He is the first stakes-winner for Marauding mare Cyclonic who traces back to influential Newhaven Park producer Valour.
Historian is one of 57 stakes-winners by Choisir. The Coolmore Stud shuttler has 16 entries for the 2014 Gold Coast Magic Millions.