It is a touch of irony that the annual rivalry between KZN and the Western Cape breeders for supremacy in the breeding barn has in recent history been claimed by the latter, the title of the country’s leading breeder has for eight years been won by a KZN stud – Summerhill. The reasons for this irony depends on individual opinion and is a subject worthy of its own story, but KZN breeders are convinced that buyers and owners do not recognize quality where it’s deserved!
This season, however, whether by design or by default, it does appear as though recent stallion movements in KZN have resulted in the province’s sire herd stimulating greater interest and expectations than has been apparent for some years. A feeling of a new confidence is almost palpable among KZN breeders
Some new arrivals are actually old friends – Hadlow Stud where St John Grey’s Graystone Stud is a major influence, has welcomed back to KZN Announce and Modus Vivendi, and Rathmor has seen the return of Bezrin from the Cape. Although Craig Ramsay sold Golden Acres nearly three years ago and moved to New Zealand, his hand can be seen in these changes.
Summerhill’s public spat with the Arabs has seen Shadwell Stud’s sires reallocated to other farms – KZN’s top sire Kahal(GB) and Malhub to Bush Hill and Muhtafal is now resident at Spring Valley Stud. But you can’t keep him down and Mick Goss has already exhibited eye-catching replacements in Golden Sword and Traffic Guard
Announce, who initially stood at Golden Acres, a very big and handsome-looking 16.2hh chestnut stallion with a super temperament, will forever be associated with St John Gray as will his full brother Sarge. By National Assembly out of You’re My Lady by Roberto, Announce was a winner of four races (including the Listed Thukela Handicap) and placed seven times in South Africa over 1200-1600m. Announce’s success as a sire contributed largely to St John Gray’s Graystone Stud’s outstanding sixth place on the 2011/2012 breeders list. Announce has produced 133 runners to date, with a staggering 82 winners – five of those Stakes Winners and eight Stakes Placed.
Announce’s (and now Sarge’s) success at stud has surprised everyone except his connections. His second dam is Spring Adieu, the dam of Damascus Gate and Razyana, the latter producing three sons by Danzig all at stud.
The most famous is dual hemisphere world champion stallion Danehill, well represented in KZN. Third dam is of course Natalma, responsible for producing the mighty Northern Dancer.
Announce stands alongside his son – Call To Combat – who stood his first season last year at Hadlow Stud. Announce will stand for a fee of R18 000 live foal
Antigua Island is a four-year old chestnut son of Black Minnaloushe, the first at stud in South Africa, standing at Rob and Michele Pickerings’ Middlefield Stud where Carprocates has already scored his first winner from his maiden crop. Out of the mare Jamaica by proven damsire Sportsworld, Antigua Island went into training and showed huge potential before an injury put paid to his racing career.
His dam Jamaica (Sportworld – Bridge Of Stars by Averof) was voted Equus Champion Older Middle Distance Female in 2005, with 11 wins including the Grade 1 races Empress Club Stakes, Fancourt Majorca Stakes and Cape Of Good Hope Paddock Stakes. Antigua Island is a tall horse who stands over a lot of ground and is the splitting image of his dam Jamaica.
Bezrin(USA), another Ramsay graduate, has returned to KZN from the Cape and stands at Rathmor Stud. The only son of Danzig currently in KZN, out of Darling Flame by Capote, he has sired the likes of champions Celtic Fire, Thunderflash and Tetelestai and is also the sire of Champion Two Year Old and Kenyan Derby winner Lazrin. Bezrin was a three time winner, including the Prix Montretout (L) in France and he placed four times (including two Listed races and two Grade 3) having only being unplaced (fifth) once from nine starts.
He produces sound horses who train on and get better as the years pass. Bezrin is a thorough professional and always features prominently on all sires lists yet stands at the very reasonable fee of R5 000.
Newcomer Curved Ball(AUS) will cover at Bush Hill. He is a fascinating prospect being the only son of Australian sensation Fastnet Rock at stud in South Africa. Curved Ball was probably best over a mile, scoring his biggest victory in the Gr 2 Dingaans. A big strong horse with loads of quality, Curved Ball bears a striking resemblance to his very successful sire.
From his first four crops Fastnet Rock has already eclipsed his sire Danehill’s tally of 32 stakes winners at the same stage of his career. Curved Ball will stand for a stud fee of R8,000 (R1,000 nom, R7,000 live foal).
Damage Is Done, already a producer of winners, is owned by Wally Brits and has returned to KZN for the 2012 season, standing alongside Kildonan, another new immigrant to KZN, at Yellow Star Stud, (formerly Golden Acres) also home to Spectrum and Tropical Empire. By Rakeen out of Catch Twenty Two by Imperial Dilemma, Damage is Done is bred on a similar cross to champion stallion Jet Master. He had four wins over distances of 1600 – 2000m, and placed seven times. He descends from a dam-line that has produced Phunyuka, Bianconi, Tom And Jerry and Jessamine, the dam of sprinters Al Nitak, Scott Bros’ sire, The Sheik, and Shoe Express, as well as Red Flyer, Top Seller, and Art De Vivre. His fourth dam is Ofa, the dam of the unforgettable multiple ARCSA champion, Politician.
Gr1 Golden Horse Sprint-record holder Kildonan, the only son of Rich Man’s Gold standing in South Africa, is out of Gr 3 winner Cathay Firth by Philippi(FR). An impressive looking individual, his first yearlings at both National Yearling Sale and KZN Yearling Sale each reached R100 000.
Equus Champion Two Year Old Colt of his year in 2006, his wins included the 2007 Golden Horse Sprint Grade 1 in 67.00secs which has yet to be equaled. He also won the Graham Beck Stakes Grade 3, and placed second in his last career start in South Africa, the Champions Cup Grade 1.
Kildonan raced in top company from distances of 1200 – 1600 metres and earned R878 994 in stakes, with a merit rating of 115. He was sent to Dubai but was unable to race due to injury and was subsequently sent back to South Africa. Kildonan stands at a fee of R10 000 live foal.
Golden Sword(GB) joins Summerhill Stud for his maiden season. The first son of High Chapparal at stud in South Africa, out of Sitara by Salse(USA), he is a four-time winner in the UK including second to Sea the Stars in the Derby, France and Dubai. Trainer Mike de Kock described him as, “the best horse of a classy generation in my overseas string. At his best, he was a serious international competitor.”
Europeans will remember him for his consummate victory in the Chester Vase (Gr 3). South Africans will recall his Dubai race, where he ran the fastest 2000 metres ever, still a record. Golden Sword stands for a fee of R20 000 + vat
The other addition to the Summerhill stallion barn, is the good-looking son of More Than Ready, Traffic Guard(USA),the first son of his sire to stand at stud in KZN. He is out of Street Scene by Zafonic. He was a five-time winner in the UK and Dubai over distances of 1200 – 2300m placing multiple times in Group company. Under his second dam is Chief Advocate winner of the Gr 1 SA Derby and under the third dam is multiple group winning sire Erin’s Isle. Another South African connection comes into this pedigree under the fourth dam Selina where Gr 1 Rothmans July and Gold Cup winner Occult appear, as well as Natural Force, Piano Player and Gr 3 Gold Vase winner Midday Concert. Traffic Guard stands at R15 000 + vat
The very imposing dark bay and foreign-owned Meet At Malamala, is the new sire at Invermooi Stud. By Western Winter out of one of Invermooi’s best families, his dam is Sweet Sweet by Kenmare(FR). Sweet Sweet has produced five winners, including a filly that is currently doing very well for Backworth Stud, named Sugar Rush. Meet At Malamala raced in South Africa and had three wins over 1200-1450m from nine starts. His success included a win in the Listed Secretariat Stakes, placings in the Gr 1 Cape Guineas and in the Gr 1 Summer Cup. His dam-line contains the likes of Gr 1 Australian Oaks winner Gatherneaux (by Twig Moss), Gr 2 Breeders Stakes winner Laubai (by Kenmare), multiple Gr 1 and 23-time winning Torbek, Gr 2 winner Swell Deal and Gr 3 winner Deputy Dancer. His fee for this year is on application only Modus Vivendi(USA), the sire of Dancewiththedevil, and another Ramsay legacy, has made a return to KZN. Modus Vivendi carries an impeccable pedigree, filled with sires. By Zafonic out of a Sir Ivor mare Monroe (herself a full-sister to Champion sire Malinowski), he has a dam-line packed with bold black-type – and in particular Grade 1 producing sires. Zafonic was a champion two year old colt in Europe and he is a full-brother to Zamindar – as well as a half-brother to the dam of Reams Of Verse, Elmaamul and Modern Day.
Modus Vivendi is a full-brother to Xaar, who carried a Timeform Rating of 132. Xaar was a 5-time winner and Champion 2 & 3 year old in Europe including the Grade 1 Dewhurst and Prix de la Salamandre. Modus Vivendi has produced, besides 9-time winning Dancewiththedevil, Ultra Vires – winner of the Easter Handicap Listed – and Increment. Standing at Hadlow Stud, his fee is on application.
These arrivals promise to add something extra to KZN’s stallioin band by augmenting such tried and proven sires like Mogok, Kahal, King of Kings, Mullins Bay and Miesque’s Approval etc It would be presumptuous to suggest that Western Cape Breeders now feel their status is under threat, but they may no longer have it all their own way.