The 2000 Cape Guineas winner Captain Al is in reach of achieving a milestone no other South African bred sire has ever accomplished.
Sarah Whitelaw writes that the former Champion Sire and Eight Times Champion Sire of 2YO’s has a total of 90 stakes winners, which means he needs just ten more black type winners to become the first locally bred stallion to achieve 100 stakes winners.
Other top locally sires, such as Dynasty (60 stakes winners), Jet Master (75) and Elevation (approximately 40 stakes winners) are some way behind Captain Al’s tally, although it is difficult to assess past stud records of such sires as Dignitary, with data less than complete for South African bred stallions in earlier eras.
While Captain Al died in 2017, he may well still have the ammunition to achieve this feat.
The late stallion has a good number of runners yet to represent him and past statistics suggest that it is possible to crack 100 black type winners before his crops run out. In his past four crops (including current 3yo’s) Captain Al has averaged nine stakes winners, and some well-bred youngsters are yet to make their racecourse appearance.
His current crop of 3yo’s include five stakes horses, notably the unbeaten One World, and Golden Slipper winner, Celtic Sea, as well as potential black type winners Canukeepitsecret, Juniper Spring, and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Captain Al has an exceptionally well bred crop of 2yo’s due to represent him this season, with his juveniles in 2018-2019 including half-siblings to Gr1 winners Via Africa, Just Sensual, and Princess Victoria (by Al Mufti’s son, Victory Moon).
Captain Al’s juveniles this season also include youngsters out of the graded stakes winners, Gibraltar Blue, Secret Of Victoria (dam of 3 top fillies by Captain Al), Sidera, and Equus Champion/ Triple Tiara winner, Cherry On The Top.
Remarkably, Captain Al could be poised for another record.
Should a son or daughter of the sire capture this year’s Cape Guineas, it would be a third year running that his progeny have won arguably South Africa’s premier event for 3yo’s. His sons, William Longsword and Tap O’ Noth, landed the Guineas in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Closest active sire with a record set to equal that of Captain Al in a major Cape classic is Dynasty, whose sons have won three of the past five runnings of the Cape Derby.
With his unbeaten son, One World, among the leading Guineas fancies, it is quite possible that Captain Al will achieve this remarkable feat.
In fact he is sure to be well represented in the majority of the Cape Summer feature races, and he has two 3yo’s entered for the upcoming Gr2 Concorde Cup – he also has three entered for the Gr2 Cape Merchants on the same day. The late bay could also make waves as a sire of sires in 2018-2019 with his Equus Champion son, Captain Of All, due to be represented by his first runners this season.
One of the best sprinters seen on the South African turf over the past two decades, Captain Of All represents an increasingly rare outcross to both Northern Dancer and Mr Prospector. Well supported early on at stud, the former Equus Champion has some well-bred sorts in his first crop, including a half-sister to high class runners Rikitikitana and Rockin Russian, a colt out of Fillies Guineas winner, Go Indigo, a ¾ brother to Equus Champion, Always In Charge, and a three-parts sister to Captain Al sired Irridescence Stakes winner, Pure Power.
It will be interesting to see if Captain Of All fares as well as his sire when mated to mares from the Sadler’s Wells male line.
Captain Al enjoyed tremendous success with Sadler’s Wells’ son, Fort Wood, with that cross producing, among others, the Gr1 winners Captain America and William Longsword.
Captain Al was sired by Al Mufti, whose Epsom Derby winning sire, Roberto, continues to make his presence felt through his male line descendants all around the world – even if the Roberto male line is by no means as potent as it once was.
The 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, Blame, (whose sire, Arch, is a grandson of Roberto) has enjoyed a stellar year in 2018, with his 13 stakes winners this year headed by the Gr1 winners, Fault and Marley’s Freedom, while his own sire is broodmare sire of boom US stallion, Uncle Mo.
The Roberto male line also continues to enjoy success in Australasia, largely thanks to a number of sire sons of the late Roberto stallion, Red Ransom. The latter’s son, Domesday, is responsible for 2018 Victoria Derby winner, Extra Brut, and this year’s Gr1 Coolmore Classic winner, Dayses Doom, while fellow Red Ransom son, All American, is responsible for 2018 Queensland Derby winner, Dark Dream.
Red Ransom is also broodmare sire of Dewhurst Stakes winner War Command (War Front), who features among the Leading First Crop Sires in the UK this season. The Coolmore Stud based War Command is bred on the same War Front/Red Ransom cross as 2018 Australian Gr1 winner, Homesman.
Another Roberto horse, Silver Hawk, is broodmare sire of multiple Gr1 winner, Nathaniel, the sire of, among others, Champion and dual Arc de Triomphe winner, Enable.