Season Review: Zippy Zourion

Date: 6 Aug 2023

Season Review: Zippy Zourion

 

The 2022/23 record breaking season came to a conclusion on 31 July 2023 - Te Akau celebrated so many milestones, inclined a new all-time record of 203 domestic wins in a season, the first time a double century has ever been scored by a trainer.  Of these, 33 were at Group/Listed level (plus Imperatriz' Group 1 in Melbourne), a massive achievement by Mark and the team, winning well over $9 million for Te Akau owners in the process.

Contributing to the black type success was exciting juvenile filly Zourion - who flashed home for Group 2 honours in those oh-so-familiar colours, previously worn to glory by two-time Horse of the Year Probabeel ...

 

Making a habit of winning the $120,000 J Swap Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (Gr. 2, 1200m) is not bad thing, and glam filly Zourion (2 f Zoustar – Irion, by Danroad) did it stylishly on 25 February at Matamata.

New to racing, Zourion debuted with victory in the 2YO 1100 metres on 7 February at Taupo, providing nine-time Champion Trainer Mark Walker his 1000th domestic win, while following in the footsteps of stable-mate and Champion Two-Year-Old Maven Belle (Burgundy), who won it last year, she cemented win number eight in the race for Te Akau.

Ridden by Opie Bosson, who first won it 24 years ago, Zourion was last on settling, steadily improved to trail the leaders 500m out and after saving ground on the inside of runners she powered home to score by one and a quarter lengths. 

It was a win that required plenty of resolve, but she answered every question and showed class in keeping with that of her impressive winning half-sister Pearl of Alsace (Tavistock).

“She’s a lovely filly, it was a pretty big effort to win and she’s got a very bright future,” said trainer Mark Walker. “She will develop into a lovely three-year-old.”

 

 

On hand, owners Brendan and Jo Lindsay (Cambridge Stud) were brimming with adulation for their new star, having formed a strong relationship with Te Akau, who trained their four-time Group One winner and reigning dual Horse of the Year Probabeel (Savabeel).

Like Probabeel, Zourion was also purchased by David Ellis CNZM as a yearling at Karaka, and subsequently on sold to Cambridge Stud. 

An outstanding looking filly, Zourion was secured for $475,000 at the 2022 Karaka Book 1 Sale, from the draft of Pencarrow Stud. 

“It’s an incredibly valuable win for a filly like her and everything she does in the future will only add to it,” Ellis said.

“I’m thrilled for Brendan and Jo to get what looks like another special filly and we know what a huge thrill they get out of these good fillies. 

“They own Cambridge Stud, they put so much of themselves into racing in this country and we’re proud and honoured to be training these good horses for them.

“They also have a share in Tokyo Tycoon and Dynastic, who also won today, and they’re standing two young stallions that we trained to win Group One races, Embellish (Savabeel) and Sword of State (Snitzel).” 

Zourion is from one of the most naturally gifted family of thoroughbred racehorses you could wish for.

While dam Irion, by Danehill son Danroad, won four races to 1600 metres, the quality of horses below second dam Dopff is in some way unprecedented for ability.

Winning eight races, including a Group Two 1600-metre race and two listed 1400 metres, Dopff left seven individual winners of 33 races. 

The distaff line has left impressive winners Octapussy (Octagonal), Pussy Willow (O’Reilly), Pussy O’Reilly (O’Reilly), Valpolicella (Red Ransom), Vavasour (Redoute’s Choice), Shezzacatch (Savabeel), and Travimyfriend (Tavistock). 

Sire Zoustar, having won six of nine starts, including two Group One and Group Two, became one of most sought after stallions in Australia, following the premature demise of his sire Northern Meteor (Encosta De Lago), a Champion First Season Sire.

 

Te Akau previous wins in the Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (Gr. 2, 1200m):

2022 – Maven Belle (Burgundy)

2017 – Gold Fever (Savabeel)

2009 – Te Akau Rose (Thorn Park)

2008 – Te Akau Coup (Thorn Park)

1995 – Bayremah (Kingdom Bay) 

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