Zoustar is set to be crowned as the sire with the most individual winners in the world in 2023, as his record-breaking career at stud continues to build momentum.

On the home front, it has been a brilliant start to the 2023/24 racing season for the Widden Stud resident, who is on the verge of becoming the first Australian sire to reach 100 winners.

But when you combine Zoustar’s surge of Australian winners with his success across the world – he has had winners in 16 different countries in 2023 – he is building a record of global significance.

There is no single platform where the global impact of stallions can be directly compared on an ongoing basis but by working manually through Arion, The Straight has ascertained that Zoustar has sired 277 winners across the world since January 1, 2023.

He is now reaping the value of being a shuttle sire, albeit one who didn’t start travelling to Tweenhills Stud in England until after he was established in Australia.

Zoustar has had 53 winners from his northern hemisphere progeny in 2023 to go with his 224 winners bred from his time at Widden.

That total of 277 puts him ahead of Japanese-based Lord Kanaloa, the northern hemisphere’s most prolific winner-producing stallion of 2023, with 256 global winners. Champion American sire Into Mischief has 224 global winners in 2023, while Ballylinch Stud’s Lope De Vega has 215.

I Am Invincible, Australia’s champion sire of the past two seasons, has never shuttled. He has accumulated Australian-bred winners at a record pace, including 216 in 2023, but can’t match Zoustar for overall global numbers.

To give some historical context, the legendary shuttler Danehill’s best year, in 2002, saw him produce 322 winners. The greatest number of winners that his contemporary More Than Ready had in a calendar year was 299.

Looking at Australian-bred sires, Exceed And Excel had a career-high of 285 in 2017, while Fastnet Rock‘s high-water mark was 279 in 2016.

Those horses, like Zoustar, benefitted from ‘reverse shuttling’ which meant having two crops a year.

Zoustar is poised to crack the century of Australian winners just 139 days into the 2023/24 season. It will be the first time in six Australian racing seasons that another sire will beat I Am Invincible, who is currently on 87 winners, to the 100-winner milestone.

Zoustar remained on 99 on Sunday, with his two Australian winners, Bold Tropic at Alice Springs and Zoumeteor at Sunshine Coast, both having already won earlier this season.

I Am Invincible does remain on track for his third straight Australian Sires’ title with his progeny having already earned $18.6 million before Christmas.

That total would have won him every Australian sires' title in history in the pre-Everest era.

‘Vinnie’ has been Australia’s leading sire on winners in each of the past five seasons and on each of those occasions, he reached the 100-mark quicker than any other sire.

Last season, he had triple figures up by December 15 (137 days), while the season before it happened on New Year’s Day (154 days). His quickest century from the start of the season came in 2020/21, when he had the milestone by December 6 (128 days). That was the season that he also set the Australian record of 208 total winners.

The last time it wasn’t I Am Invincible ‘raising the bat’ first was in 2017/18, when Snitzel got to the century on January 5, 158 days into the new campaign.

Zoustar’s rise in terms of volume of winners has been quite spectacular. He first cracked the 100 mark in 2019/20, with exactly that many for the season with three crops at the track. He built that to 143 in 2020/21, then 154 in 2021/22, before that leaped to 186 last season.

To get a measure of how much quicker the winners are coming for Zoustar this season, last season he didn’t break the century mark until February 8. He remains on track to become just the second sire in Australian history to secure 200 winners in a campaign.

A surge in numbers of overall runners has played a major role in this. Zoustar’s biggest foal crop of 176 is now four and his second biggest crop (143) are his current three-year-olds.

Charting this rise, in 2020/21, the Widden resident had 247 Australian runners, the 11th most of all sires.

In 2021/22, that jumped to 306, the fifth highest, then to 358, the second highest.

As things stand in 2023/24, Zoustar has had more runners, 268, than any other sire.

Zoustar’s season-by-season progeny record in Australia

Season Runners Winners SWs Prizemoney
2017/18 34 10 3 $3,208,694
2018/19 126 64 6 $7,467,605
2019/20 201 100 7 $11,177,525
2020/21 247 143 13 $12,500,010
2021/22 306 154 10 $12,452,368
2022/23 358 186 8 $16,433,152
2023/24 269 99 6 $8,801,843

The trainer who has had the most individual Australian winners by Zoustar this season is, not surprisingly, the man who trained the sire himself in his racing days, Chris Waller, with five. Waller has also had the most Zoustar runners this season with 14.

Then follows a trio of trainers, Peter Moody and Katherine Coleman, Ciaron Maher and David Eustace and Stuart Kendrick with four individual winners apiece.
Zoustar’s season-by-season progeny record in Australia

It’s also worth noting that it hasn’t been about quantity over quality for Zoustar this season. He has produced two Group 1 winners, Ozzmosis and Joliestar, as well as four other stakes winners.

That total of six places him behind only I Am Invincible (9) when it comes to total stakes winners in Australia for the campaign.

Beyond home borders, his Widden-bred crops have produced stakes winners in Hong Kong and New Zealand in the current racing season as well as winners in Singapore and Japan.

Zoustar’s northern hemisphere crops, of which there are two at the track, have featured four stakes winners across 2023, three in Great Britain and one in France. He has also had winners this year from his Tweenhills crops in the USA, Ireland, Japan, Greece, Norway and Czechia.

Given his global imprint, and that he is set to be the world’s leading winner-producing sire in 2023, it is interesting that Zoustar won’t shuttle to Tweenhills in 2024.

He has been given a season off having just finished his 10th breeding season in Australia and having already completed five seasons in Great Britain.