WHEN Kingston Town and Manikato, soon after, became the first horses to break through $1m in earnings they were milestone moments.
Since then, scores of others have gone onto join the millionaires club. Some them going unnoticed.
The newest member of this elite club is Riziz whose victory in last weekend’s City Adelaide Handicap at Morphettville Parks saw his earnings tick over into seven figures.
And while the occasion passed without much fanfare, it was a major triumph for the eight-yearold’s owner/breeder/trainer Ken Sweeney and studmaster Stuart Lamont who stands Riziz’s sire Zariz his Riverina property – Kooringal Stud.
“He’s done a very good job given that he’s nearly won nearly all
money in Adelaide,” Lamont says. “He’s been a very consistent horse. He puts in a good effort time and he rarely runs a bad race.
“And he’s been good to Ken Sweeney no doubt.
“I’ve known Ken for years from when he was training here at Jerilderie for some before he went to Adelaide.
“He rings up every year and books a few mares to Zariz, (Riziz’s dam) Priya always one of them.”
Riziz has raced 56 times so far winning 15 times with 10 seconds and eight thirds.
Among his haul are the Group 3 SAJC Spring Stakes (1400m) and a further eight Listed wins.
The gelding has 10 stakes-placings including his ‘cheeky’ third in the 2014 Group 1 SAJC Goodwood Handicap and the Group 3 MRC Sir John Monash Stakes on a rare trip across border to Melbourne that same year.
“Ken places him very well and obviously those sort of horses aren’t that easy to place in Ad- elaide because they are going to murdered at the weights and he’s not an overly big horse,” Lamont.
“He’s run some mighty races with some very weights in his time.”
Riziz is one of four stakeswinners by Zariz, a Mukkadamah (Storm Bird) son whose own carer highlight came via consecutive wins in the Group 2 AJC San Domenico Stakes (1000m) and Group 2 AJC Up And Coming Stakes (1200) back in 2000.
The stallion’s versatility is born out by the fact that his sole Group 1 winner is Lazer Sharp, winning of the SAJC Derby (2500m).
His remaining stakeswinners are Sydney’s recently retired grey flash, Zaratone, and former NSW Central Districts star sprinter, Shiraz.
The quartet raced an incredible 184 times between them claiming a collective total of 47 wins and $2.8m in shared earnings.
“He can get that sort of horse and he just keeps coming up with winners,” says Lamont.
“And so many of the Zariz’s, they just don’t just win one race – are good enough to go through the classes.
“A lot of stallions can produce a horse to win a maiden but Zariz can do a bit better than that.”
One thing that astute punters will attest to is Zariz’s progeny are invariably adept on wet tracks – Shiraz being an obvious example.
“They are good on both surfaces (good or wet) which is a real advantage to handle the ground when you go through long ‘win- ter’, we just found that out in Sydney,” said Lamont.
Zariz is rising 20 but you wouldn’t know it to look at him, says the man who sees the horse every day.
“He looks as well as ever,” Lamont told us. “He hasn’t dropped in the back at all. He is a youthful looking horse but he little bit dickey in the feet so we have got to look after him. He’s got to be shod correctly and just look after him in that regard.
“He is a weaver so he does put a bit of pressure on himself but doesn’t seem to pass that trait on – he’s just a good horse.”
Zariz will cover mares again this season at Kooringal alongside USA import The Brothers War, Golden Rose winner Duporth and the prolific Magic Albert.
No doubt Riziz’s dam, Priya will be among Zariz’s 2017 harem as she was every year for the last five straight and back in 2008 when they came together to deliver Riziz.
He’s run some mighty races with some very big weights in his time. – Stuar t Lamont