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29/06/02 Zabenz Bolts Home in Grand National
Zabenz established himself as a potential jumping superstar after he scored a sizzling win in this afternoon's Grand National Hurdle at Flemington.

After racing near midfield for much of the race, the son of Zabeel strode up to the leaders rounding the turn and then cleared away for a comprehensive win.

Winning trainer Robert Smerdon is already eyeing races like the Nakayama Grand Jump, the world's richest jumping race in Japan, which was won by St. Steven earlier this year.

But before that the gelding may not even remain in the stable, with plenty of interest expected from overseas connections.

"The owner (Italian based Carlo Da Rosa) would consider selling him for the right price," Smerdon said. "You'd have to think he'd be worth at least $250,000 after today."

Zabenz, who is unbeaten from three runs over the jumps, would not have even been in today's race if he didn't gain a run when he was third emergency in his debut jumps race recently.

"If he had not got a start in that trial hurdle we would not be here winning today," Smerdon said.

Despite it being a good option in the eyes of Smerdon, it is almost certain Zabuan will not progress to the upcoming Hiskens Steeplechase.

"If he was my horse I'd probably run him in the Hiskens," Smerdon said. "But it was arranged before the race no matter what happened he would head for a spell."

Connections will then aim the budding jumping star at the Cup Day Hurdle at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day in November.

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