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Zafeen: solid start for Group 1 winner

ZAFEEN clearly had a big reputation even before he had seen a racecourse: the son of the brilliant Zafonic and 6f Listed juvenile winner Shy Lady was sent off the 5-6 favourite on his debut over 6f in the July of his two-year-old season.

Greenness let him and his supporters down in that race, but he was beaten only half a length after hanging badly, and on his next start he got the job done - and in some style too, with only a shake of the reins required to make the colt charge clear of his rivals.

That effort earned him a trip to Deauville for the Prix Morny, where he was beaten less than a length by Elusive City.
His next assignment was the Mill Reef Stakes, which he won readily from Monsieur Bond, before he ran fifth in the Middle Park and fourth in the Dewhurst.

At three he filled the runner-up spot in the Greenham Stakes and the 2,000 Guineas - in which he was beaten less than a length by Refuse To Bend - before disappointing in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and then scoring a deserved Group 1 win in the St James's Palace Stakes, with the likes of Kalaman, Hold That Tiger and Clodovil behind.

Ten of his first crop foals sold for an average of 13,790gns, hitting a peak of 75,000gns, the amount Paddy Twomey paid for a half-brother to Baltic King. Reoffered in a stickier market in the following year, the colt also became his sire's top price yearling when selling to Suzanne Roberts for 55,000gns.

Named Huygens, he is trained by Dennis Coakley and finished a promising fifth on his debut earlier this month.

In total, 17 Zafeen yearlings sold last year, at an average of 11,779gns.

So far Zafeen has had two winners from 13 runners, including Grand Zafeen, the first foal out of Majestic Desert. Trained by Mick Channon, Grand Zafeen won her maiden in April, and lost little in defeat when narrowly beaten by Desert Auction on her last start.

The filly takes her chance in the Queen Mary Stakes today.

Among the other nicely bred Zafeen two-year-olds to look forward to are an unnamed half-brother to Ceremonial Jade in training with David Simcock; Zafeen Speed a Brian Meehan-trained colt out of German 1,000 Guineas heroineDakhla Oasis, herself a sister to Dyhim Diamond, and Secret Queen, a daughter of a half-sister to Silver Pivotal also trained by Meehan, who finished third on her debut last month.

What they say about their Zafeen two-year-olds

Grand Zafeen really is a smashing little filly, very sharp, very quick. She runs in the Queen Mary, which her dam finished third in, and though no one else seems to fancy her chances in the race, I think she'll run very well! I couldn't be happier with the colts Star Zafeen and Il Portico - they both have great temperaments, but will need a little more time and will appear a  bit later in the year.

Mick Channon, trainer of Grand Zafeen, Star Zafeen and Il Portico.





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