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NZ-Bred gallopers land 'Spring Grand Slam'
08 Nov 2007 | NZTM Update 

In keeping with its proud history of success in Australia, New Zealand-bred gallopers triumphantly landed what is informally described as Melbourne's 'Spring Grand Slam' on Tuesday.
 
Whilst not officially considered as a 'triple crown', the Caulfield Cup (2400m), Cox Plate (2040m)  and Melbourne Cup (3200m) are widely regarded as the 'big three' in Australia, with racing fans considering these races to be the major interconnected component of the Melbourne Spring Carnival package.

Looking to the history books, only one horse has ever successfully landed all three...a New Zealand bred galloper no less.

Revered as one of the greatest racehorses bred in New Zealand, Rising Fast (NZ) voyaged across the Tasman in 1954 to successfully raid the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate, and under a weight of 59.5kg achieved the honour of being the highest weight bearing winner of Melbourne Cup.

Since this time, only Might & Power (NZ) (Zabeel) has managed success in all three, albeit not in the same season, and again this horse heralded from New Zealand.
 
Warming the New Zealand breeding industry to the five Gr.1 wins that would follow at the Carnival, Maldivian (NZ) (Zabeel) evoked comparisons to this great horse after a dominate performance in the Gr.1 Yalumba Stakes at Caulfield.

Posited as the favourite for the $2,500,000 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) one week later, an unfortunate barrier mishap would deny Maldivian (NZ) his chance to contest the first leg of the 'triple crown', ensuring a seemingly all too easy win here by the talented five-year old gelding Master O'Reilly (NZ) (O'Reilly).

The result extended on New Zealand's prolific success in the coveted event, with Master O'Reilly (NZ) representing the 33rd NZ-bred winner since 1950 (57.8 per cent win percentage).

Billed as the race that produces champions, the Pin's (AUS) (Snippets) gelding El Segundo (NZ) was the next to endorse the (NZ) suffix, racing home for an emphatic two length win in the Gr.1 Tattersalls Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley.

In winning El Segundo (NZ) certainly made up for his narrow defeat behind Fields Of Omagh in last year's Cox Plate (2040m) to capture Australasia's greatest weight-for-age race.

In the final leg of the triple-crown, it was the 2006 VRC Derby Winner Efficient (NZ) who would take centre stage at Flemington. Ultimately, claiming New Zealand's fifth group one victory of the carnival in the A$5 million Gr.1 Emirates Melbourne Cup.

In a history making effort, Efficient (NZ) became the first horse since Phar Lap (NZ) to win the Derby and then follow up with the Cup the next year, a feat which could well be repeated next year courtesy of the outstanding 2007 VRC Derby winner Kibbutz (NZ) (Golan).

In what is regarded as the greatest day of racing in the southern hemisphere, due to its ten-strong group level racecard, Kibbutz (NZ) rose to the very top of the Australasian three-year-old crop with the blue riband win.

The VRC Derby has been a happy hunting ground for New Zealand-bred gallopers, who count 15 victories since 1978.