Under-rated gelding Historian (5g Choisir x Cyclonic, by Marauding) started 2013 by winning the Group I Thorndon Mile in New Zealand on January 26 and has finished it with another Group I victory after taking out the Zabeel Classic at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.
Broken down and written off as a racing prospect after suffering a serious tendon injury in Hong Kong as a three year-old after finishing runner-up in the 2011 New Zealand Derby, Historian has staged a remarkable comeback.
A $40,000 purchase from the Lyndhurst Farm draft at the NZB Select Yearling Sale, Historian started his career with Tony Pike winning two of his first four starts before closing out his three year-old campaign with that fine Derby second to Jimmy Choux.
Then sent to Hong Kong, it all went pear shaped from that point for Historian as injury took over and he did not race for the best part of two years.
Nurtured back to top condition by Cambridge trainer Gary Alton, Historian has had a fruitful past 12 months, capping it with a tenacious long head victory in this 2000 metre contest.
“The idea was if he got to the front to put the pressure on at the half-mile (800m) and he kept rolling along,” Gary Alton said.
“He got well and truly headed, but he’s got a lot of ticker and we only ever work him on the water walker. We knew he was well and it was a really good effort.”
Historian stuck to his task grimly under pressure in the straight and rallied valiantly to snare the valuable win.
“It’s been a long time between drinks for me in a Group One and it’s good to get one on such an honest horse and he deserves it,” said winning rider Matt Cameron.
“He had a nice breather down the back and he’s got a pretty big head and he’s hard to get past.
“He got a bit off balance on the turn when I went for him and he lost a bit of momentum, but he’s tough and got me out of it.”
Historian has the overall record of five wins and five placings from 16 starts with prizemoney topping $700,000.
He is the first stakes-winner for Marauding mare Cyclonic, who traces back to an influential Australian producer in Valour, whose descendants include Champion 2YO and Golden Slipper winner Burst as well as Group I winners Victory Prince and Bush Padre.
Historian is one of 57 stakes-winners for Choisir, who has 16 entries for the 2014 Magic Millions.