The establishment of high-class catalogue pages from ground level through the acquisition of quality racemares and the ongoing upgrading of their broodmare band has placed Varsfontein Stud at the forefront of South African breeders. It is astute investment over generations that continues to deliver performance at the highest level on the track.
It has been a dazzling season all round for the Varsfontein Stud brand. Graduates of the long established Cape producer won or were placed in an extraordinary 53 Graded and Listed races during the 2013/14 season.
The beautiful Paarl wine farm established by Anthony Kalmanson over forty years ago has continued to produce racehorses of the finest vintage with top drawer consistency their hallmark over time.
The Boland has seen many summers since the first yearling sold by Varsfontein, Kings Rhapsody, a winner of ten races for the late Laurie and Jean Jaffee.
And this past season was an outstanding one on all fronts, made more remarkable by the diversity of their flagbearers.
Multiple Gr1 winner Yorker, SA Oaks winner Ash Cloud and Judpot’s first ever Gr1 winner in the 2012/13 season Along Came Polly, winning the Gr1 Empress Club Stakes, to lead the charge.
They added their names to the Varsfontein Gr1 honour roll that is too long to recount in these pages but includes some familiar names of recent years like Forest Indigo, Master Plan, Royal Bencher, War Horse, Covenant , Dane Julia, Give Me Five, O Caesour, Floatyourboat and Perfect Promise.
There are many more, but that is what happens when you breed top horses for four decades.
And nowhere was the Varsfontein success story more evident than at last Thursday evening’s Cape Racing and Breeding Awards.
Varsfontein management team Carl and Amanda De Vos were crowned Outstanding Breeders, and not without good cause.
Their Dubai-bound Jet Master gelding Yorker won the Champion Older Male award after a season that saw him win three terrific Gr1’s, in the Presidents Champions Challenge, the Horse Chestnut 1600 and the Summer Cup. He was also runner-up in the J&B Met and must be a favourite to collect the Equus SA Horse Of The Year Award on Wednesday evening.
The gallant Foveros mare Star Of Arcole won the Broodmare Of The Year award.
She is the dam of the 2014 Gr1 SA Oaks winner Ash Cloud, and as Carl De Vos said proudly: “She has given us three Oaks winners as she also produced SA Oaks winner Arcola and Gold Circle Oaks winner, Princess Of Light.”
Their new stallion Master Of My Fate and the Mike Bass staying son of Caesour River Crossing (J&B Reserve Stayers) carried the Gr2 flag this past season.
Master Of My Fate won the Peninsula Handicap and the Premier Trophy. He was fancied to win the Met, but probably didn’t quite stay the trip.
He follows in the footsteps of Mexico II (GB), who was the first stallion to make Varsfontein his home.
Mexico II (GB) was Champion Sire of 2 year olds in 1979/80 and 1980/81 but fast forward to 2014 and the farm NOW boasts surely the most exciting trio of young high-class stallion firepower in South Africa.
As observed, the newest man on the block is the magnificent , Master Of My Fate, whose injury enforced retirement while in training with Dennis Drier on the eve of last Champions Season produced plenty of excitement in the breeding paddocks.
“We are thrilled to have him back home. We bred his grandmother and his mother, so this is another example one of our old families coming through, ”says Carl De Vos.
He stands alongside the brilliant Australian bred Gr1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate winner (he beat Variety Club) Gimmethegreenlight’s first crop are 2yo’s this season
Then the 2013 Equus Outstanding Stallion Judpot’s short stud track record speaks for itself.
From his first crop of six winners that earned over R1,1 million, he produced Gr1 winners Forest Indigo and Along Came Polly, a Gr2 winner Colour Of Courage and another stakes performer in Juddering Angel.
Varsfontein offer 14 superbly bred 2yo’s on the National 2yo Sale and enjoyed the distinction of consigning the highest priced lot on day one – a Black Minnaloushe filly (lot 117) that sold for R360 000.
Their draft includes a Judpot filly out of the Gr1 November Handicap and SA Fillies Guineas winner Duchess Daba.