(By John Jenkins)

A stallion that is lucky to be still living let alone standing at stud, is starting to prove a hit as a sire of winter gallopers.

Fabulous, who stands at Peter McKenzie’s Strathcarron Stud near Levin, was represented by the impressive winners Happy Star and Flyingflynn last weekend and breeders are suddenly starting to take note of the little known sire.

Fabulous was bred by McKenzie, by High Chaparral out of the His Royal Highness mare City Of Dreams, and his owner had high hopes for the horse as a racing proposition after he showed plenty of early promise.

“He showed me a lot of speed early on and I had him in the Ready To Run sale but withdrew him because he showed so much talent,” McKenzie recalled in a radio interview this week.

“The person I must thank for that is Carl Muollo, who owns Happy Star. He said you are not going to sell that horse. We need another good horse so I’ll race him with you.”

However those plans never came to fruition as Fabulous fractured his shoulder when undergoing trackwork one morning.

“Veterinary surgeons wanted to put him down but contrary to their opinion my vet didn’t.

“I persuaded them he wasn’t in great pain and once he got over the shock he calmed down.

“He broke his shoulder on the track here at Levin and it was only three or four hundred metres to get back to the stables. We kept him in a box there for 12 months while the shoulder healed.

“I then kept him in a small yard after that and now he gallops around the paddock like a sound horse. We never got to race him but now we are racing his progeny.”

The oldest of the Fabulous stock are now three-year-olds and McKenzie said he produced 18 foals from his first crop.

Happy Star, a three-year-old by Fabulous out of the Zed mare Carlton Queen, has certainly shown a penchant for heavy track conditions. The gelding won a 1400m maiden race on a heavy-10 track at Trentham on June 8 and backed up seven days later to take out a Rating 65 race over 1600m at Awapuni.

“He’s got an action that is just perfect for those conditions,” McKenzie added.

“He’s out of a Zed mare and his sire is out of a His Royal Highness mare so the pedigree says he should excel on those tracks.”

Happy Star, who has now had five starts for two wins and two fifths, is now likely to return to Awapuni on July 6 for his next appearance.

Flyingflynn broke through for his maiden success at his sixth start when he bolted in by 6-1/2 lengths over 2000m on a slow-9 track at Te Awamutu last Sunday. The three-year-old gelding is by Fabulous out of the Chief Bearhart mare Iamthewind and bred and owned by Rainbow Lodge Stud.

Trained at Te Aroha by Nadine Kelly, Flyingflynn showed early promise with a second in an 800m Avondale trial at the beginning of this season but his best previous race day performance before Sunday had been a sixth over 1100m at Matamata.

McKenzie stands Fabulous at a fee of just $500 and has several young horses by the sire on his property.

“They are not early maturing horses and need time, but that goes with the rest of his pedigree,” he said.

“He’s by High Chaparral and out of a half-sister to Sculptor, who ran in the 2007 Melbourne Cup and won the Saab Quality over 2500m at Flemington on the Saturday before the cup.”