With the top stallions in South Africa not getting any younger, it is pleasing to see a host of new sires stepping up and showing promise, writes Sarah Whitelaw.
It is hard to recall a season when so many first season sires’ runners caught the eye, which bodes well for the future of the SA sires log.
Warm White Night
The latest South African bred sire to make a splash, the Klawervlei based Warm White Night has made a sparkling start with his first crop runners in 2014-2015. Currently South Africa’s Leading First Crop Sire by winners, Warm White Night has been represented by six winners to date, from just 13 runners, a most pleasing strike rate and one which can still pick up further.
His first runners include Gr1 SA Nursery entrant, Kemal Kavur, King’s Pact Stakes second place finisher, Miss Nightingale, as well as impressive debut winner, Ninefold (an R800 000 buy from the 2014 March Yearling Sale). Warm White Night has made the perfect start to his new career at stud.
While Warm White Night was a top class sprinter, who won a Grade One sprint at two (Gold Medallion), it will be interesting to see what amount of stamina he passes on to his offspring. His sire Western Winter was an exceptional and versatile stallion, whose runners won Grade One features from 1000m to 3200m, while Warm White Night himself is a half brother to dual Gr1 Gold Cup winner, Highland Night and Derby winner, Prince Asad.
Like Warm White Night, Summerhill Stud’s resident sire, Visionaire, is a grandson of the hugely successful Gone West. The latter is also the ancestor of Quality Road, who topped North America’s Leading First Crop Sires log in 2014, so it appears safe to say that the Gone West male line is flourishing the world over.
Winner of the Grade One King’s Bishop Stakes at three, Visionaire started well at stud, his first crop proving very popular with buyers in 2014, Visionaire’s offspring fetching up to R1.4 million.
It appears that Visionaire’s popularity was well founded, with the stallion having made the ideal start to his stud career in South Africa. From just a handful of runners to date, Visionaire’s first runners include the unbeaten feature race winning filly, Royal Pleasure, and the highly regarded colt, Jet Air. With a number of well-bred juveniles still waiting in the wings, the sky could well be the limit for Visionaire.
Despite himself never having raced at two, Querari has a made fine start with his first runners this season. The Maine Chance Farms resident is certainly bred for the job, being a son of world leading sire, Oasis Dream (himself a highly promising sire of sires), and from a very high class female line. Querari, who traces back directly in female line to champion Friars Carse, won three times up to 2000m, with his victories including a score in the 2010 Gr1 Premio Presidente Della Republica.
He appears to be transmitting the speed so typical of his male line, with his first winners including the talented stakes colt, Dynamic Speed. Querari has a smart strike rate (especially for a horse whose runners should only get better with time and distance), with his first eight runners including the debut winners, Champery, Dynamic Speed and Spring Wonder. A young sire with a future.
While not represented by the same number of runners as his peers, the Rosedene Stud based Biarritz can hardly have done more. His sole runner to date, Anglet, is a winner, giving the son of Count Dubois a 100% strike rate of winners to runners. Yet another member of the Gone West male line (Count Dubois being a son of Gone West’s most brilliant son, Zafonic), Biarritz was a top class racehorse who earned over R1 million in stakes, campaigning successfully in both South Africa and Dubai.
Numbers may count against Biarritz (whose daughter Anglet won a good race at Kenilworth on Sunday) in the first crop sires log, but he can hardly have got off to a better start.
A former winner of the Listed (now Grade One) Al Quoz Sprint, the Highlands Farm resident, Great Britain, is another not to have been represented by many runners, but the first crop sire has a fair strike rate with three of his first four runners having won or finished in the money.
Few stallions in South Africa have as good a pedigree as does Great Britain, with the son of Green Desert (sire of outstanding sires Invincible Spirit, Oasis Dream and Volksraad) being a full brother to Gr1 Lockinge Stakes winner and leading sire, Cape Cross. The latter is the sire of more than 90 black type winners to date with his top winners including the great champions Ouija Board and Sea The Stars, both subsequently responsible for Epsom classic winners!
The former Gr1 Investec Cape Derby winner, Russian Sage, is another whose runners should improve with time and distance. However, the son of Jallad, represented by just two runners to date, had a smart debut winner at Kenilworth on Sunday, when Russian Speed provided his young sire with his first ever winner, and the dual Grade One winner could be another young stallion worth following.
Russian Sage is also something of a rarity in modern breeding in that he is free of both Northern Dancer and Mr Prospector blood, which should appeal to breeders in search of a rare outcross.
He is a member of the Blushing Groom male line, once so powerful, but a line which has shrunk badly in recent times (leading young French sire Le Havre being one of the last proven sires tracing back to this magnificent stallion).