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Call it blind faith - but Zadok The Priest is the feelgood yarn of the week

Ric Chapman in Interviews 15 Jul 2016
  • It's the lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believe in myself. - Muhammad Ali
This is the image of persistence: Zadok The Priest after his win today

Call it persistence...or maybe blind bloody faith.

Actyally what is blind faith again? According to the Bible - it's the hope of things unseen.

Now, I use that Bible reference because at Scone on Friday a horse with a kinda biblical name, called ZADOK THE PRIEST won a race.

On face value, there's seemingly nothing special about that - it was a lowly $20,000 race and he paid $9.50.

Aghhh, but it's the back story that appeals - and should appeal to all racehorse owners.

Because this Zadok the Priest (Raheeb-Kaysean Sunshine) has become a bit of a cult hero since winter racing arrived. He's now a bonafide beacon for all those who persist with slow horses. He's the quintessential feel good story of the week.

His trainer Robert (Pud) Davies has been around the racing game training for nigh on 50 years. And he just shakes his head after each win when interviewed.

"As I've said before, when he was young, I made a mistake thinking he might want to stay and so I trained him like that. But I was wrong.

"This horse hates training, so I backed off, gave him some long slow runs instead, and look at him now."

Look at him indeed.

Zadok The Priest began his racing career about this time two years at ago - at Cessnock in a maiden. He ran 11th of 14.

Two weeks later he was again beaten out of a place at Scone and two weeks after that finished even further back at Port Macquarie.

In fact it took nearly a year before he ran a place - that in the mud at Tamworth when beaten into 3rd spot some 11 lengths behind the winner.

So pretty much during his 2 and 3YO days, he showed nothing to his owners or his trainer.

Roll forward another year, and those same connections just kept seeing failure - race after race after race.

At his 17th start in a race, after just a couple of low-key bush placings to his name, he finally won. It was a 1280m maiden at Muswellbrook in May of this year.

He came from 5th on the bend and fell in. That was it everyone thought.

The horse who just couldn't win a race finally had won one - so his career highlight had been achieved, we all thought.

"But his owners saw something in him," said Davies. "They bred him and just thought he might come good now if we kept him going."


Did they have a crystal ball? 

Because nothing could prepare anyone in racing for what's just happened.

This horse came back from his career highlight maiden win, a month later, and won  at the 'Brook again in a Class 1 over 1450m.

Two wins in a row....what was happening?

He went up in grade to contest a BM 60 thank you very much at his next start over 1550m - and I'll be darned, he won again. Three on the bounce...unbelievable. Increase in class and distance and he defied all logic.

So surely when taken to a BM 70 on Friday in the mud at Scone this week, he was going to get smashed.


He won again - beating a couple of open class gallopers in the bargain.

How, when, why these little miracles in racing occur, are beyond human understanding.

In May this year he had lost his 17th start in a row in maiden grade.

Now he's won four in a row and netted $54,455 for his patient, faithful owner breeders.

"Nearly everyone in this game would have given up on him," said Davies.

"After 17 losses in maiden races why would you keep a horse going? But they did and I'm in shock."

So is the universe.

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Call it blind faith - but Zadok The Priest is the feelgood yarn of the week

Ric Chapman found Zadok The Priest who was a very slow racehorse until the winter of this year. Now he's giving hope to every racehorse owner in the land.

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