established himself as a potential jumping superstar after he scored a sizzling win in
this afternoon's Grand National Hurdle at Flemington.
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.