In-depth Analysis

By Andrew Caulfield

Although Gone West sired nearly 100 stakes winners, this son of Mr Prospector is now most esteemed as an excellent sire of sires.

Several of his sons have been in particularly good form in recent years. For example Mr Greeley was responsible for the Gr.1 winners Finsceal Beo, Saoirse Abu, Aruna, Western Aristocrat and Crusade, while Elusive Quality’s team included the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Raven’s Pass, the highly talented American colt Quality Road and the champion two-year-old fillies Elusive Kate and Certify. Proud Citizen, another American-based son of Gone West, was represented by the champion three-year-old filly Proud Spell from his first crop and sired the Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can in 2012. Speightstown, another young son, made a very eye-catching start, with six Gr.1 winners, including Lord Shanakill and Haynesfield.

Even in such distinguished company, Gone West’s English-based son Zamindar has more than held his own. Zamindar’s total of three Gr.1 winners in 2007 was bettered only by Danehill and Monsun. The others with three Gr.1 winners were Distorted Humor, Sadler’s Wells, Smart Strike and Street Cry, which highlights the tremendous value for money that Zamindar represents. Zamindar maintained his momentum in 2008, when his brilliant daughter Zarkava brought her astonishing career to a triumphant end in the Arc.

Another Gr.1 winner was added to his total when Timepiece won the 2011 Falmouth Stakes. Zamindar’s successes in 2007 and 2008 brought him much stronger support and this is going to stand him in good stead over the next few years. Indeed, in 2012 he was represented by 12 new blacktype performers, including the Group-winning colts So Beautiful and Starboard, the Irish St Leger second Massiyn and the Prix Marcel Boussac runner-up Topaze Blanche.

It can have surprised no-one familiar with Zamindar’s female line that he was able to show exceptional speed as a two-year-old. The family was introduced to the Juddmonte Farms stud book with the purchase of Mofida, a mare who raced no fewer than 15 times as a two-year-old in 1976. Mofida won five of her juvenile races, including the Firth of Clyde Stakes, and in doing so fulfilled the potential of her bloodlines. Her sire, Right Tack, won his last five starts as a two-year-old, including the Middle Park Stakes, before going on to complete the 2,000 Guineas double in England and Ireland. Mofida’s dam, Wold Lass, had the distinction of being a half-sister to Reet Lass, winner of the Molecomb Stakes, Lowther Stakes and three other races during an undefeated juvenile campaign, and to Chebs Lad, who numbered the Champagne Stakes among his five juvenile wins.

Mofida finally retired as a winner of eight of her 41 starts, achieving annual Timeform ratings of 111, 115 and 108. Five of her daughters have produced stakes winners, the best of them being Modena and Zaizafon. A daughter of Roberto, Modena produced a magnificent total of seven stakes winners, headed by the Oaks heroine Reams of Verse and the Eclipse winner Elmaamul. Modena is also the second dam of Midday, one of the best three-year-old fillies of 2009, and the third dam of Zacinto, a leading miler in 2009.

Zaizafon’s contribution to the family fortunes was to produce Zamindar and Zafonic, plus another five black-type performers. One of Zaizafon’s daughters, Bold Empress, has two daughters with Group winners to their credit. This branch’s current representatives include Announce, a Gr.1 winner in France.

Although Zaizafon’s sire, The Minstrel, stayed well enough to win the Derby, Irish Derby and the King George, Zaizafon won the Gr.3 Seaton Delaval Stakes over seven furlongs at two. A mile was her best distance at three, when her third to Shadeed in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes earned her a Timeform rating of 119.

There are now numerous stakes-winning or blacktype descendants of Mofida in the Juddmonte broodmare team, so this is a family with a future, as well as a past.

Zamindar possessed one of the traits most valued by many commercial breeders - he matured very quickly. Although an accident in the stalls prevented him making his first appearance in June, he was able to make an impressive debut over 5½ furlongs at Maisons-Laffitte on July 1, when he romped home five lengths clear in a newcomers’ event. That proved to be the last time that Zamindar contested anything but a Group race.

Zamindar’s Group debut came in the Prix de Cabourg over six furlongs at Deauville on August 1, and he was just as impressive as he had been in lesser company. In front from the start, he led throughout to win easily by 2½ lengths from Dyhim Diamond, a very fast colt who went on to become a dual Group winner and a Group 1 sire. So favourable was the impression that Zamindar created with these authoritative wins that he next started at odds of 3/10 in the Prix Morny Gr.1. Unfortunately he was caught close home and beaten a short neck by Bahamian Bounty, a colt who later recorded another Group 1 success in the Middle Park Stakes. There were some, though, who thought that Zamindar’s defeat owed a lot to the way he was ridden. Timing expert Michael Tanner, writing in Pacemaker, commented:

“It is difficult to see how much more use could have been made of Zamindar in the Prix Morny at Deauville, unless it was right from the gate. After Bahamian Bounty had registered a typically French-style 14.2 [seconds] furlong, the odds-on favourite Zamindar proceeded to reel off untypically Gallic figures of 11.0, 11.4, 11.0 and 11.9. “That mid-race half-mile of 45.3, for example, compares to 47.2 in the Maurice de Gheest. Zamindar was ready to be taken after that stint of front-running.”

Tanner thought that Zamindar’s rider again expected too much when Zamindar started at odds on to emulate Zafonic’s victory in the Prix de la Salamandre Gr.1. “Zamindar’s raw speed was again evident in the Salamandre,” he wrote in Pacemaker. “He rattled up mindboggling early fractions: 12.1 out of the gate preceding quarters of 21.8 and 21.2. Elder brother Zafonic, for example, only clocked 12.7, 24.9 and 23.6 on faster ground back in 1992. However, whereas Zafonic prevailed with a 22.1 [final] quarter, Zamindar was a spent force when Revoque appeared to come flying past.”

It is worth stressing that Zamindar covered the first 1,000 metres in :55.1 seconds and maintained his gallop to cross the 1,200-metre mark in 1:08.3 - another very fast time for a two-year-old.

Zamindar was not seen out again until the 2000 Guineas, in which Thierry Jarnet faced the unenviable job of trying to conserve the colt’s energy for an uphill finish over a mile. Again, the critics thought the tactics were somewhat overdone.

The Sporting Life form book records that Zamindar was held up in last place before staying on well from over two furlongs out. He ran on strongly inside the final furlong and was nearest at the finish.

“That he got as close as he did is testament to his speed,” wrote one analyst after Zamindar had finished a 3-length fifth to Entrepreneur. “He showed as good a burst as any Guineas winner when getting clear, but he didn’t get daylight in the last 100 yards and was not driven out. He must have taken all the beating if Jarnet had tracked the winner.”

A minor skin infection then interrupted Zamindar’s career and he was not seen out again until the summer Deauville meeting, when he was a ¾-length second in the Prix de Ris-Orangis. Zamindar is best remembered, though, for the blazing speed that characterised his two-year-old performances and the chances are that misfortune prevented him revealing the full extent of his ability on the racetrack. However, it is proving to be a different story at stud.

True to its promise, Juddmonte Farms lent Zamindar strong support after his retirement to Banstead Manor Stud and Zamindar thoroughly justified this support by providing Juddmonte with the top-class filly Zenda, winner of the French 1,000 Guineas Gr.1 and a close second in the Coronation Stakes Gr.1. Other Juddmonte-bred stakes horses were Jubilation, winner of the Listed Prix de Pontarme on his second start and later to become a Group 3 winner; Victorian Order, winner of the Listed Prix Pelleas; Minds Locked, winner of his first two starts prior to finishing a creditable fourth in the Prix Jean Prat Gr.1; and Extinguisher, who failed by only two heads to win the Listed Prix Roland de Chambure.

Zamindar’s early crops also did well for other breeders. His daughter Pertuisane (who, like Zenda, Jubilation, Victorian Order and Minds Locked, is inbred to Northern Dancer) was a strong-finishing third after meeting trouble in running in the Garden City Breeders’ Cup Handicap Gr.1 at Belmont Park. Other good winners by Zamindar include Zargus, winner of the Balmoral Handicap over 5 furlongs at Royal Ascot, and Lipstick, a Listed winner who was unlucky not to collect the £129,000 first prize in the Watership Down Stud Sales race.

Unfortunately a health issue meant that Zamindar missed most of the 2000 season, in his third year at Banstead Manor, and he spent 2001 and 2002 in Florida.

Zamindar then returned to Banstead Manor to replace Zafonic, who had died in an accident in the summer of 2002. Zamindar’s return was also prompted by the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches Gr.1 victory of his first-crop daughter Zenda.

In his first crop following his return to Britain Zamindar achieved a good strike rate, with five stakes winners. One of them, Darjina, provided him with his second success in the Pouliches and later confirmed her standing as one of her generations’s best milers by taking two more Group 1 events, the Prix d’Astarte and Prix du Moulin, and finishing second in six others. Coquerelle, this crop’s other Group 1 winner, took the Prix Saint-Alary and put up another excellent effort when third in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Gr.1 at Keeneland. This crop also confirmed that Zamindar can sire very good colts, as well as fillies, and his son Crossharbour won three Group races, including the Prix du Conseil de Paris Gr.2.

There were only 55 foals in Zamindar’s 2005 crop but again this crop produced the high percentage of five stakes winners. One of them was Zarkava, who earned her place in history by winning all of her seven starts. Five of her victories came at Group 1 level, culminating in the Arc. Zarkava also credited Zamindar with his third victory in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, a race in which another Zamindar filly, the Group 2 winner Modern Look, finished fourth. Zamindar ended 2008 with the title of champion sire in France.

Zamindar’s three crops born between 2006 and 2008 contained fewer than 100 foals but among them is another very talented filly in Timepiece, winner of the Falmouth Stakes Gr.1 in 2011.

Zarkava and Darjina are out of mares with similar pedigrees. Both mares – Zarkasha and Darinska – are by Northern Dancer line stallions and both are out of daughters of the Aga’s 2,000 Guineas winner Doyoun, himself a son of Mill Reef. Cinnamon Bay, another of Zamindar’s 2007 stakes winners, is also out of a mare bred on the Northern Dancer/Mill Reef cross and so is Zenda, who originated this cross.

In comparing Zafonic and Zamindar, it is interesting that Zamindar now has five Gr.1 winners among the 512 foals in his first ten crops (two of which were sired at fees of only $5,000 in Florida, the others at fees between £7,000 and £15,000 in England). Zafonic, on the other hand, sired four Gr.1 winners from 633 named foals in his nine crops – all sired at fees between £20,000 and £30,000. This statistic suggests strongly that Zamindar has the potential to be a better sire than his older brother, even though Zafonic had the better form. This also supports the view that Zamindar (always held in very high regard by André Fabre) never revealed the full extent of his talent on the racecourse, largely because of a reluctance to settle as a juvenile.

Zamindar has proven himself to be one of the best value stallions available to breeders - no other sire in his price range has produced more Classic winners.