Buy late foals at late sales. Trainer Riaan van Reenen’s philosophy looks to be paying dividends with the Favour Stud-bred son of Elusive Fort, Elevated.
The hurly burly of champagne corks popping and the power player thrills of the Cape Guineas passed with little acknowledgement for Phillipi-based Elevated’s gutsy fourth placed finish in Saturday’s classic behind new Klawervlei sire-in-waiting, William Longsword.
A 9 December foal, Elevated, a R100 000 CTS 2yo Sale graduate, still had his teeth falling out in the parade ring, according to his excited trainer – but he ran a cracker, nevertheless.
“I feel for those three that ran in front of us. In six months we will change positions and they will be behind us, ” says his confident trainer Riaan van Reenen, who in his partnership with Carl Burger trains just 21 horses.
The partnership has done a top job just to have a runner in this great race and their charge did not disgrace the connections.
Elevated has earned at all of his 8 racecourse appearances – a win, 5 seconds and 2 fourths.
He ran second behind Table Bay in the Gr3 Cape Classic and chased Attenborough home in the Listed Somerset 1200 as a 2yo.
“Look, let’s face it, when we say he is a late foal, he is a very, very late foal. He is immature and skeletally much weaker than those big boys he took on. But he showed what serious ability he has by finishing so well,” says Van Reenen.
On whether his charge will line up in the Derby next month, he says that is a ‘possibility’.
“We are having him fully examined by our Vet on Thursday. We are thinking long-term with this horse. But if there is a sliver of doubt, he will skip the Cape Derby and go to the farm for a break. We will bring him back for the 2017 Winter Series. A vulture is a patient bird,” he laughs.
Had he had any big money offers?
“I’m a small trainer and yes I did sell horses in years gone by that I had shares in. The likes of A Daughter’s Legacy, Diana’s Choice and Sweet Virginia come to mind. Everything has a price when you are an ordinary man. But I have no shares in Elevated. He is owned in a partnership by, amongst others, powerful men like Marsh Shirtliff and Bryn Ressel. They need good horses more than they need the bloody money!” he laughed.
“So to answer your question – no, he is definitely not for sale.”
And who chose him at the sale?
“I had a mandate from Marsh and Bryn and Elevated just spoke to me. I love buying late foals at late sales. There is so much scope. And it beats buying an early foal at a late sale! It’s easy to see what you are getting. But when you have to visualise what you are getting, a year into the future, then that is a different challenge!”
With a Gr1 winner from both his crops, Elusive Fort, sire of Lanzerac RTR Stakes star Safe Harbour, has another decent sort on his hands.
The champion son of champion sire Fort Wood is the sire of 2016 Lanzerac Ready To Run Stakes winner Safe Harbour, who pushed her earnings to over R1.5 million with an off the pace win in Saturday’s 1400m event.
Bred by Wilgerbosdrift , who also bred Fort Wood’s other top sire son Dynasty, Elusive Fort has made a superb start to his stud career, with his first two small crops both having produced G1 winners.
Elusive Fort’s broodmare sire, Secret Prospector, is a three parts brother in blood to the late North American sire, Not For Love, broodmare sire of the mighty champion, California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit), and the prolific sire and outstanding broodmare sire, Woodman, whose daughters have produced, among others, More Than Ready.
This remarkable family – known widely as the “E” family – continues to excel in both South Africa and abroad.