A truly eclectic group of stallions will be represented by their first South African two-year-olds this season. This suggests the well established South African guard of sires could well receive a shake up, writes Sarah Whitelaw.
Interestingly, while a number of these first crop sires are fliers and precocious 2yos, others have a more classic look to them.
Five of these first crop sires hail from the potent Northern Dancer male line, three from the Mr Prospector male line and one from the Bold Ruler male line.
AWAIT THE DAWN
By Horse Of The Year and triple US champion sire Giant’s Causeway, Await The Dawn was a top class performer, whose six wins included a trio of Group wins –most notably a three length romp in the Gr2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot. Sadly now deceased, Await The Dawn hails from an outstanding family, with his relatives including Arc de Triomphe hero and champion sire Rainbow Quest (Blushing Groom), successful sires Scenic (Sadler’s Wells) and Warning (Known Fact), and Irish Derby runner up Deploy (Shirley Heights) –damsire of the great sire Dubawi.
A former champion in France, Byword was a top class athlete, whose seven wins included the Gr1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes. The chestnut, who also finished second to champion and triple Gr1 Breeders’ Cup Mile heroine Goldikova (Anabaa), made an instant impression with his first crop fetching up to R2 000 000 in 2016. A half brother to multiple Gr1 winner Proviso (Dansili), Byword is from the same female line as champion sire Court Martial, as well as such champions as Wandesta, Continent and top class sire Amerigo (Nearco).
Like outstanding sires Diesis, Petingo, Oasis Dream and Sharpen Up, Crusade won the G1 Middle Park Stakes at two. From the powerful Gone West male line (responsible for such top class South African sires as Western Winter, Visionaire and Count Dubois), Crusade is a half brother to this season’s dual G1 winning filly Seventh Heaven (Galileo) –who scored in both the Gr1 Darley Irish Oaks and Gr1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks in 2016. Was the second leading first crop sire, by aggregate, at the 2016 National Yearling Sale.
Like the abovementioned Await The Dawn (and outstanding Irish sire Shamardal) Eightfold Path is a son of champion racehorse and outstanding sire Giant’s Causeway (himself the best son of legendary sire Storm Cat). Himself a Gr3 winner at two, the talented and blue blooded Eightfold Path is out of the once beaten dual French classic winner Divine Proportions –herself a daughter of the outstanding stallion Kingmambo. This is the family of champions and top class sires Shirley Heights (Mill Reef) and Pentire (Be My Guest).
Like outstanding sires Captain Al, Dynasty and Jet Master, Irish Flame is a South African bred Gr1 winner. Himself a former Horse Of The Year, Irish Flame (one of the very best sons of Dynasty around) won seven times, and scored in both South Africa and Britain. The champion won both the G1 Daily News 2000 (as did Dynasty) and Gr1 SA Derby. The latter race saw Irish Flame romp home to a devastating nine and a half length win over people’s champion Pierre Jourdan, and the champ would also go on to land the Gr2 Gold Circle Derby and defeat the great Pocket Power when runner up in the Gr1 Vodacom Durban July.
Like current red hot SA sire Judpot, Marchfield is a son of dual US champion sire A P Indy. Himself a classic winner and dual Canadian champion, Marchfield was a top class performer who earned more than $1 000 000 on the track. From the same family as former top class SA sires Peaceable Kingdom and Home Guard, as well as top sires Boldnesian, Cryptoclearance and Harlan’s Holiday, Marchfield was one of the leading first crop sires of his era in Canada.
A triple Gr1 winning champion in Europe, Oratorio’s first South African yearlings made a huge impression last season, when they fetched up to R3.2 million. By Danehill, and from the same family as champion sires Alydar and Plum Bold, Oratorio is a proven sire (of over 40 stakes winners) and a dual Champion Sire in Italy. His top offspring include champions Banchee, Beethoven and Horse Of The Year Military Attack.
One of the very best racehorses ever to begin his stud career in South Africa, former European champion Twice Over was a superb athlete, whose 12 individual victories included four at G1 level. Twice Over’s tally included back to back wins in the Gr1 Champion Stakes, and he reeled off a total of nine pattern race wins in total during a career which saw the champion earn more than £2.5 million in prize money. From the potent Mr Prospector male line, Twice Over is from the immediate family of current high class British galloper Time Test (Dubawi) as well as US Horse Of The Year and outstanding sire Damascus.
WHAT A WINTER
A triple Equus Champion, who earned over R3 000 000, the handsome What A Winter was one of the better sprinters to have raced in the modern South African era. A four time Gr1 winner, the champ was also sports a tremendous pedigree –he is a son of triple champion sire Western Winter and a half brother to a champion, and also hails from the same family as leading sires Hyperion, Mossborough, Pharamond, Sickle and Sir Tristram. What A Winter’s first yearlings proved hugely popular in 2016 –not only did they fetch up to R850 000 at the 2016 Cape Premier Yearling Sale, but he was the leading first crop sire (by aggregate) at the 2016 National Yearling Sale.