Accomplished breeder Robin Bruss’ philosophy of breeding to racing class has borne great success and was underlined again in Singapore on Sunday when the Kahal gelding Mighty Emperor registered his third win for Patrick Shaw.
Many Cape racing fans will recall the ordinary looking strip of equine power, Sweet Virginia, from a decade ago.
Described as the best horse he trained by Phillipi trainer Riaan Van Reenen, the slight daughter of Casey Tibbs out of the Royal Prerogative Millie Bovana, was victorious in the 2005 Gr3 Final Fling Stakes, and walloped the boys in the Gr3 Winter Classic and Winter Derby – a feat not matched by her own sex since.
Sweet Virginia, who shares her name with a Rolling Stones hit from the early 70’s, hails from the family of Gr1 winners Smart As Paint and Mill Hill.
The quality of the Cape Winter Series has always been strong – think Pocket Power and Winter Solstice if in doubt – and amongst those that ran behind Sweet Virginia was subsequent Gr1 Champions Cup winner, African Appeal.
“She ran on heart and pure guts alone and was nothing to look at, “ said Robin Bruss, who added that Kevin Sommerville had purchased her as a broodmare for R200 000 on his behalf.
The six-time winner has proven a goldmine for Bruss, producing winners every year.
“The first consideration in finding a good mare is proven racing class and then bulking up with the right stallion,” suggested the knowledgeable Bruss, who has bred a host of Gr1 winners.
Sweet Virginia’s first foal was by Stronghold. Named Strongman, he won the Listed Sophomore Sprint for Glen Puller in the Cape.
He races these days in Hong Kong for Tony Millard under the name Horse Of Fortune, and has banked earnings of over R12 million with his five wins! He also ran in the QE 2 Cup.
Kahal was next. The colt Mighty Emperor was sold to the Yong family’s Avengers Stable in a private deal. He won his third race at Kranji on Sunday.
Then it was Visionaire’s turn. That produced Vilakazi, who ran subsequent Gr1 Champions Cup winner Marinaresco to a head for Vaughan Marshall in the Winter Guineas last term.
Sweet Virginia was sent back to Visionaire and the good news is that her daughter Supreme Vision won first time of asking for Dennis Drier and owner Vanessa Harrison at Greyville on 10 August.
Sweet Virginia’s latest foal, by Twice Over, was knocked down to John Freeman for R1,1 million at the 2016 National Yearling Sale.
Bruss has since sold Sweet Virginia to Lammerskraal Stud and she is currently in foal to exciting sire Duke Of Marmalade.
“She has been good to me but one always has to keep an open mind about moving them on. I wish Lammerskraal every success with her and Duke Of Marmalade has to be the most exciting sire to go to her yet,” he said.