Schabau (Image: Racing Photos)
Trainer Robert Hickmott on Tuesday gave German import Schabau the ultimate accolade after the stayer’s winning Australian debut at Flemington.
Hickmott trained Melbourne Cup winners Green Moon (2012) and Almandin (2015) and was working as a foreman at Macedon Lodge for owner Lloyd Williams when 2008 Melbourne Cup winner Efficient was at his peak.
Hickmott believes Schabau shares a crucial physical attribute with Efficient.
"The only horse that I’ve ever seen with a lung capacity like him is Efficient," Hickmott said after the narrow but impressive victory.
"We’ve never touched him in the wind in any of his gallop. We’ve taken him out to Sandown for two or three gallops and it never touched him in the lungs at all. It’s a great asset to have."
"Away from Makybe Diva, Efficient’s probably the best stayer that Australia has seen for a long time."
Schabau was purchased by a syndicate headed by bloodstock expert Suman Hedge but he was unable to run over the spring carnival as he was denied access to the industry’s quarantine centre at Werribee because of his low international rating.
Schabau instead spent his quarantine time at the government facility at Mickleham where he could not be trained.
As much as $9 was bet on Schabau on Monday but the import started the $3.80 favourite as punters began to warm to the form around his past two starts in July, when he won both races by seven lengths at Hamburg.
Schabau settled nicely for Mark Zahra and he loomed to win easily over the 2000 metre trip in the Watson Handicap after sustaining a sprint from midfield, but the consistent country galloper Prince Ziggy ($5.50) kept him honest to the line, finishing just a head astern.
Hickmott said he had no doubt the horse could one day challenge for a Melbourne Cup.
"We’ll just go through the grades at the moment," he said.
"Just give him two or three runs and tip him out.
"He’s a horse that profiles good for a race like the Bart Cummings. We would love to get a free ticket in (to the Melbourne Cup).
"That’s the main aim, but it’s a long way to go."
WATCH: Schabau make a winning debut in Australia