True Enough (NZ) Caps Rise to Stardom in Zabeel Classic

True Enough (NZ) wins the first leg of the NZB Insurance WFA Triple Crown Series. Photo: Trish Dunell.
True Enough (NZ) wins the first leg of the NZB Insurance WFA Triple Crown Series. Photo: Trish Dunell.

After a 12-month rise through the ranks of New Zealand racing, True Enough (NZ) (Nom du Jeu) claimed his biggest prize in the $200,000 Group 1 Cambridge Stud Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day – the first race of the NZB Insurance WFA Triple Crown Series.

At this time last year, True Enough was racing in Rating 72 grade. With four wins from seven starts last season, he moved all the way up to open class and placed at Group 2 level in his final start of 2018-19.

His rise has accelerated in 2019-20. He scored a first-up win in the Group 3 Spring Sprint (1400m) at Hastings, then had an unlucky third placing at Te Rapa before winning the Group 2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m) at Riccarton last month.

He stepped up to Group 1 level with a third in the Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Trentham on December 7, setting him up for his Boxing Day block-buster.

Expertly ridden by James McDonald, the six-year-old never let the leaders out of his sights as he settled in a stalking position.

True Enough quickened to take the lead in the straight, but he was soon challenged on both sides by Fiscal Fantasy (Skilled) and Beauden (NZ) (Bullbars). He dug deep and fought them off, winning by a neck in an exciting finish.

“Every time we raise the bar for him, he just keeps stepping up, and now he is a Group 1 winner,” said Andrew Forsman, who trains in partnership with Murray Baker.

“He ran out the mile at Wellington as though he needed 2000 metres. It had to be a good ride in a quality field today, and it was spot on.”

The win capped a roller-coaster week for McDonald. The original plan was for the champion Sydney-based jockey to simply spend a few days at home with family over the Christmas-New Year period, but he answered the call from long-time supporter Sir Peter Vela to ride likely Zabeel Classic favourite Supera (NZ) (Savabeel).

That mare was unfortunately withdrawn from the race due to a minor setback, but McDonald picked up the winning ride on True Enough. He also won the Group 2 SkyCity Eight Carat Classic (1600m) on Jennifer Eccles (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle) and added another win on unbeaten mare Only In Jakarta (Snitzel). For good measure, it was announced this week that McDonald will become the youngest person ever inducted into the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame.

McDonald has previous experience riding True Enough, having joined forces with him to win the Thames Cup (1600m) last January.

“I am two from two on him now, he might have to follow me across the Tasman,” he said.

“If you had told me a year ago that he would win a Group 1, I would probably have said he wouldn’t have got out of that handicap grade, but he has done a marvellous job.

“It’s well-deserved for the horse. He has been so consistent the whole way through, there’s probably no horse that deserves it as much as him.”

True Enough has now won nine of his 20 starts and more than $444,000 in stakes for owner-breeders Murray and Valda Preston and co-owners Warren and Delwyn Outtrim.

If True Enough can follow up his Zabeel Classic heroics with victories in the $400,000 Group 1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa on February 8, and the $200,000 Group 1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie on March 7, he will earn a $100,000 NZB Insurance WFA Triple Crown Bonus.

The Weight-for-Age Triple Crown is one of three NZB Insurance Triple Crown Series introduced this year.

The races in the Sprint Triple Crown are the $200,000 Group 1 Sistema Railway (1200m) at Ellerslie on January 1, the $250,000 Group 1 JR & N Berkett Telegraph (1200m) at Trentham on January 18, and the $200,000 Group 1 BCD Group Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa on February 8.

The third Series is the Fillies and Mares Triple Crown, made up of the $70,000 Group 3 Cuddle Stakes (1600m) at Trentham on March 14, the $200,000 Group 1 Fiber Fresh New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) at Te Aroha on April 4, and the $100,000 Group 2 Travis Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa on April 25.

In each of the three Series, there is a $100,000 Triple Crown Bonus available for any horse who can win all three races.

WFA Series Schedule

Weight-for-Age Triple Crown Winner
$200,000 G1 Cambridge Stud Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie on 26 December 2019 True Enough (NZ)
$400,000 G1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa on 8 February 2020
$200,000 G1 Bonecrusher NZ Stakes at Ellerslie on 7 March 2020
The winner of all three races wins the $100,000 Triple Crown Weight-for-Age Bonus

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