Zabeel Classic

Zabeel Classic

Group One Betting Guide
Date: Sunday, December 26, 2021
Location: Ellerslie Racecourse
Prize Money: NZ$200,000
Distance: 2000m

The Group 1 Zabeel Classic is a 2000m thoroughbred race held on Boxing Day (December 26) each year under weight-for-age conditions.

Up to 20,000 Aucklanders descend on Ellerslie Racecourse for a meeting that is steeped in tradition and consists of four Stakes-grade titles.

Formerly known as the Auckland Classic and later the Japan Racing Association Classic, the race is now named in honour of Zabeel – a four-time New Zealand champion sire who produced the likes of Might And Power, Octagonal and Vengeance Of Rain.

In 2005, the Zabeel Classic was moved from January to December, which resulted in the race being run twice that year.

Zabeel Classic True Enough
True Enough ridden to victory by James McDonald at the 2019 Zabeel Classic

Best Zabeel Classic bookmakers

All of our recommended online bookmakers offer all-in and fixed-odds betting on the Zabeel Classic, but only some open their markets early. Follow the links in the table below to find the best odds for the 2021 Zabeel Classic.

United States Sport Table

Sport Table

Zabeel Classic betting guide

Notable winners of the Zabeel Classic include Danzdanzdance (2018), Kawi (2015), Veyron (2012), Sir Slick (2007), St Reims (2005), Hail (2003), Giovana (2002), Zonda (2001), Vialli (1998), Star Dancer (1995/1996), All In Fun (1994), Horlicks (1990) and Waverley Star (1986).

The Zabeel Classic received Group 1 status in 1987, the year after the great Waverley Star claimed victory.

Since 2000, four jockeys have won the Zabeel Classic on two seperate occasions: Opie Bosson (2004, 2018), Leith Innes (2005, 2015), Bruce Herd (2005, 2006) and James McDonald (2011, 2019). Even the great Damien Oliver has tasted success in the Zabeel Classic, having taken the race out back in 2001.

With the Captain Cook Stakes being run three weeks earlier under weight-for-age conditions, it has been a strong form reference for the Zabeel Classic in recent times, although only Danzdanzdance (2018) has done the double.

2020 Zabeel Classic result


1stConcert Hall ($5.60)
2ndSupera ($1.90)
3rdIn A Twinkling ($2.20)

Recent Zabeel Classic winners

  • Having finished second in the Captain Cook Stakes earlier in the month, the Roger James & Robert Wellwood-trained Concert Hall claimed Group 1 success in the Zabeel Classic. Concert Hall had looked a Group 1 winner in waiting throughout her career having won four individual stakes races before her success in the Zabeel, but had struggled to breakthrough at the top level. Stepping up to her preferred 2000-metre distance, her winning chances appeared to have been dashed when Vinnie Colgan found himself last of the eleven runners with just 600 metres to run, however with a genuine tempo out in front, the six-year-old mare managed to grind home down the centre of the track and was the one who finished off best.
  • Premier NSW jockey James McDonald had made the trek back across the ditch for the Zabeel Classic and it was all made worth it when JMac partnered True Enough to victory for Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman. McDonald rode True Enough to victory in the Thames Cup (1600m) in January and nearly a year later he reunited with the six-year-old gelding to record a Group 1 victory. The son of Nom du Jeu had been in a purple patch of form that season, recording three wins and two placings from five starts, including victories in the Group 3 Red Badge Sprint (1400m) and Group 2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m), and a last start placing in the Group 1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Trentham.
  • History was made at Ellerslie when the Christopher Gibbs & Michelle Bradley-trained Danzdanzdance became the first horse to claim the Captain Cook Stakes / Zabeel Classic double. Ridden by Opie Bosson, Danzdanzdance settled at the rear before circling the field rounding the turn and after she straightened, she lengthened on the heavy ground to win easily. The grey mare made a mess of her rivals, with placegetters Lizzie L’Amour and Jon Snow beaten by 3.5 lengths and 8.1 lengths respectively.
  • Having finished third in the previous two runnings of the Zabeel Classic, Authentic Paddy finally broke through for a maiden Group 1 win with an upset win in the 2017 Zabeel Classic. Having gone around as $21 chance, not many gave the Lisa Latta-trained gelding a chance in the race, but under a perfectly rated front running ride from Trudy Thronton, the son of Howbaddouwantit simply never looked like getting run down in the home straight.
  • Despite being sent a round as a $41 chance, the Stephen McKee-trained Consensus caused one of the biggest upsets in Zabeel Classic history. The five-year-old mare responded to urgings from Alysha Collett to get the better of race favourite Volkstok’n’barrell, who had been majorly backed late into a very tight quote. With the favourite finding plenty of trouble in the home straight, it was Consensus who reaped the benefits with a nice turn of foot.
  • Despite Kawi’s imposing record of nine wins, two at Group 1 level, and six seconds from 20 starts there have been plenty who have questioned his talent at top level, particularly the Ellerslie right-handed way around. However, in the 2015 Zabeel Classic, the Allan Sharrock-trained son of Savabeel broke his Ellerslie maiden tag in the best way possible.

Zabeel Classic past winners list

Zabeel Classic Past Winners since 2000
Year Horse Jockey Trainer
2020 Concert Hall Vincent Colgan Roger James & Robert Wellwood
2019 True Enough James McDonald Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman
2018 Danzdanzdance Opie Bosson Christopher Gibbs & Michelle Bradley
2017 Authentic Paddy Trudy Thornton Lisa Latta
2016 Consensus Alysha Collett Stephen McKee
2015 Kawi Leith Innes Allan Sharrock
2014 Soriano Rory Hutchings Graeme & Debbie Rogerson
2013 Historian Matthew Cameron Gary Alton
2012 Veyron Rogan Norvall Linda Laing
2011 Shez Sinsational James McDonald Allan Sharrock
2010 Booming Vinne Colgan Jeff Lynds
2009 Vosne Romanee Matthew Cameron Jeff Lynds
2008 Gallions Reach Sam Spratt Richard Yuill
2007 Sir Slick Bruce Herd Graeme Nicholson
2006 Mikki Street Bruce Herd Lisa Latta
2005 Bazelle Jason Waddell Paul Jenkins
2005 St Reims Leith Innes Chris McNab
2004 Lashed Opie Bosson Graeme Rogerson & Stephen Autridge
2003 Hail Greg Childs Bruce & Stephen Marsh
2002 Giovana Peter Johnson Carol Marshall
2001 Zonda Damien Oliver Roger James
2000 Rebel Linda Ballantyne Val Langsford
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