Scientists and ‘big history’ enthusiasts will be familiar with the term ‘Goldilocks conditions’ derived from the story of Goldilocks coming upon the three different bowls of porridge. One was too hot, the other too cold, but the last one was just right. It refers to striking the perfect balance.
It’s a little like keeping appointments – arrive too early and it may be awkward if people aren’t quite ready for you yet – too late and you risk keeping everyone waiting. Getting it just right is something of a fine art, but racing folk perhaps know the value of arriving on time more than most!
There is nothing quite like a new foal, but when it is the very first foal by our only surviving Triple Crown winner at stud, well, that’s a bit special. It is therefore auspicious that Louis The King’s first offspring timed its arrival to perfection, arriving safely on 1 August 2017, the official birthday of all Southern Hemisphere Thoroughbreds.
The bay filly foal, out of the 5yo Hope Downs (Fort Wood – Hancock News), was not only born at Louis’ Sorrento Stud home in the Western Cape, but was foaled out of a mare belonging to Louis’ owner, Tiaan van der Vyfer.
She was delivered safe and sound at 6:30am to the delight – and surprise – of her connections. Louis’ manager Kerry Jack told the Sporting Post, “She was due on the 12th, so it’s a tad early, but we’re very happy. It’s an outstanding first foal, particularly as she is a little early and out of a maiden mare. I’s a great start for ‘the King’ and we couldn’t be happier! Plus the mare belongs to Tiaan, so it’s particularly special.”
She continues, “Sorrento have supported him strongly as well as Tiaan who bought him some lovely mares last year and a few more this year including well related fillies by Fort Wood and Trippi. He’s had fair support by shareholders & outside breeders, although one could always do with a few more! He’s also incredibly fertile which always helps. It’s early days and we’ll have to see what the rest of his foals look like, but it’s a great start and if we have a few more like this, we’ll be thrilled.”
Annabel Andrews confirmed that it had been a straightforward birth and said of the filly, “She has no markings, like her dad, but has a good strong hindquarter, loads of bone and she’s tall – we couldn’t have asked for better. Louis had done us proud.”
Tiaan van der Vyfer was equally proud. “I haven’t got words. I am thrilled, I promise you. When they sent the pictures this morning I was so surprised, but it’s just tremendous.” With a good number of foals due to his own mares in August, Tiaan will be in the Cape to visit Louis and meet the foals a little later this month. “We are very excited. Obviously we are looking forward to seeing the foals, but the most important thing is that the mares all do well. It can be a tough game, this,” he acknowledges sagely. “It’s a heartsore story for me, racing. When the horses do well, we’re all smiling, but when they don’t, where do they go? We trust and hope that they all become champs and that they will do Louis proud.”
Louis’ second foal, from Ilium, a daughter of Ideal World, arrived at 4am on Wednesday, 2 August 2017.
Kerry has extended an open invitation for breeders – and fans – to come and view Louis and his foals. “We are expecting quite a number of early foals, so please feel free to give us a call and come and have a look.”