There has been a growing trend of retiring colts to stud before their third birthday and so before they have had the chance to prove themselves against open competition. These horses include Zebedee whose final of seven starts was on September 10th of his two-year-old season.
He made a winning debut at Windsor in mid-April, followed-up at Ascot two weeks later and then finished only fifth behind Approve in the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes at that same venue, his only defeat.
Listed success at Sandown followed, then a narrow victory in the Group 3 Molecomb Stakes, another one in a valuable sales race at Newmarket, and then a neck defeat of Dinkum Diamond in the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster. Both Timeform and the official handicappers rated him 113.
The son of Invincible Spirit (by Green Desert) stands at Tally Ho Stud in Ireland and his first crop features both the Group 2-winning sprinter Magical Memory (Timeform-rated 123) and classic-placed Group 2 scorer Ivawood (Timeform-rated 118), who is a Coolmore stallion.
Zebedee's fourth crop also features a Group 2 winner and that is the Brian Meehan-trained Barraquero who earned a Timeform rating of 110p when taking the Qatar Richmond Stakes over six furlongs at Goodwood recently, beating Nebo and Group 2 July Stakes winner Cardsharp (gave 3lbs) by one and a quarter lengths and two and a quarter lengths on soft ground.
He had been third to subsequent Group 2 star Expert Eye on their debut over a half-furlong farther at Newbury in mid-June, then justified favouritism with a six-length score at Chepstow in early July – both of those races run on good ground.
Barraquero was bred by Helen Smith and Sally Mullen. He holds entries in the Group 2 Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes, Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes, and Group 1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes.
It will be interesting to see how far he stays because his dam, who won over seven furlongs and was placed at a mile, is Chica Whopa (by Oasis Dream), which makes him inbred 3x3 to Green Desert (by Danzig).
Her half-sister Jezebel, who represented the sole crop of sprint star Owington (by Green Desert), was a Group 3-placed and stakes-winning sprinter but has been producing offspring who are effective at a mile. Those include the six-furlong listed scorer Ancient Goddess (by Iffraaj) and also Pearl Ice (by Iffraaj) who won thrice at six furlongs, once at a mile, and earned a peak handicap mark of 98.
Just Ice (by Polar Falcon), the grandam of Barraquero, won a French listed race over six furlongs on soft ground as a juvenile. Although she did not race at three, it is possible that she may have stayed a mile as her siblings included Always On A Sunday (by Star Appeal), who lost out by a short-head and the same to Tessla and Roseate Tern in the Group 3 May Hill Stakes over a mile at two and won the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes over 10 furlongs at Newmarket the following May.
Their half-brother Palmetto Express (by Glint Of Gold) stayed even farther as that listed scorer was Group 3-placed over two miles in Germany.
It is true that both he and Always On A Sunday were by stallions more associated with stamina than speed whereas Just Ice is by one noted for sprinters and milers. And their siblings also include the multiple blacktype-placed middle-distance Sunday Sport Star – a full-sister to Always On A Sunday.
She became the dam of the five-furlong juvenile stakes winner Signs (by Risk Me), a filly that you might have expected, on breeding, would stay a mile. And when that grand-daughter of Sharpo (by Sharpen Up) went to stud it seems that it was stamina rather than speed that she passed on to her best son as he, Knavesmire Omen (by Robellino) got his listed success over two miles and made all when a five-length winner of a handicap over four and a half furlong farther at Goodwood four weeks later.
There is a chance that six and seven furlongs may prove to be Barraquero's best distances, but there is enough in the distaff side of his family to suggest that will get a mile, in which case it is possible that the early-season European classics may become primary targets on his radar rather than the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup.