The racing world saluted a true champion this weekend, when Winx made her farewell to the track in the Gr1 Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.
Chris Waller’s mighty mare made 33 wins on the bounce by landing Saturday’s 2000m contest for a third time, while taking her tally of Gr1 wins to 25.
The list of Winx’s achievements is too long to mention but they include equalling Phar Lap’s record of 37 wins, a never before achieved tally of four Cox Plate wins, and she went a remarkable 1463 days without losing a race.
For all the debate surrounding the quality of horse that she has beaten, there can be no denying that the Australian Street Cry champion is a truly remarkable thoroughbred. Her record is that of a truly durable, consistent and high class champion, who has dominated her rivals without fail and there will no doubt continue to be debate whether she or US champion Zenyatta were the better of the two Street Cry sired superstars.
One of the less heralded aspects of the mighty Winx’s pedigree is that her Gr1 Bayer Classic winning broodmare sire Al Akbar is a son of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Success Express.
The latter, a son of Hold Your Peace, was one of three major winners produced by the superb broodmare Au Printemps – whose sire Dancing Champ enjoyed a long and fruitful stud career in South Africa, where he proved particularly successful as a broodmare sire. Au Printemps is also dam of Canadian Champion Charlie Barley and G1 Champagne Stakes winner Greenwood Lake.
A Nijinsky II half-brother to Kentucky Oaks winner Sweet Alliance – the dam of Irish Derby winner Shareef Dancer- Dancing Champ ironically enough hailed from the same family as another exceptional daughter of Street Cry in the once beaten US champion Zenyatta.
The well bred bay, whose wins included the prestigious Gr2 ‘Mass Cap’ –a race also won by champions Seabiscuit, Whirlaway, Cigar, and Skip Away, retired to stud in Canada originally before moving to South Africa in 1984.
Dancing Champ left behind ten crops in South Africa, with his 30 odd stakes winners including the champions Olympic Duel, Son Of A Champ, Golden Taipan, Dancing Duel, Space Walk and Prairie Oyster and fellow Gr1 winners Cool Success, and Castle Walk.
His progeny proved versatile, with Dancing Champ coming up with Gr1 winners over distances ranging from 1200 to 3200 metres. His progeny won the July two years running, with Dancing Duel’s triumph in 1993 being followed Space Walk being promoted to first place in the July a year later.
However it is as a broodmare sire that Dancing Champ truly made his mark in South Africa.
His daughter Fashing was South Africa’s Broodmare Of The Year 2003, with that matron producing a trio of stakes winners notably Horse Of The Year and five time G1 winner Yard-Arm. Fashing is also ancestress of recent black type performers Current Event (a ¾ brother to Abashiri), Simona, Just Chaos and Green Haze, and with a number of daughters and granddaughters still at stud, Fashing could still feature in the pedigree of future graded stakes winners.
Fashing’s Gr3 winning daughter Donya also went on to also make her mark at stud, as the dam of Triple Crown winner Abashiri and Dubai stakes winner Drift Ice.
Another Dancing Champ daughter named Broodmare Of The Year was Meretricious (in 2006) the dam of the remarkable own sisters Irridescence and Perfect Promise, Gr1 winners in South Africa who went on to capture the major international races, the Gr1 QE II Cup in Hong Kong and Gr1 C F Orr Stakes in Australia respectively.
Both Irridescence and Perfect Promise were sired by Caesour, with Perfect Promise having gone on to achieve some success at stud, with her progeny including the Parramatta Cup winner More Energy (Fastnet Rock), KZN sire Redoute’s Promise (Redoute’s Choice) and Gr3 Zeditave Stakes runner up Hard Promise (Hard Spun).
Daughters of Dancing Champ achieved notable success when mated to both Al Mufti and Western Winter. When mated to Al Mufti, Dancing Champ mares came up with the likes of UAE Derby winner and Gr1 sire Victory Moon, Gr2 Gold Vase winner Al’s Dancer, champion Almah (subsequently dam of Gr3 Three Troikas Stakes winner Sensible Lover) and Gr1 Golden Slipper winner Gilded Minaret.
Dancing Champ is also broodmare sire of Pagan Princess, whose two Gr1 winners include the Cape Guineas winning sire William Longsword – who was sired by Al Mufti’s champion son Captain Al.
However, it was with Western Winter that Dancing Champ mares enjoyed a tremendous strike rate. From a relatively small number of runners, the Western Winter/Dancing Champ cross produced not only Yard-Arm but also November Handicap hero Swartland, Golden Horseshoe winner Weston Blaze, and Gold Cup king Reveille Boy.
Other top class performers produced by daughters of Dancing Champ included champion Consensual – dam of another Equus Champion in Just Sensual – Cape Derby hero Ultrasound and Gr1 Daily News 2000 hero Flying Duel – out Dancing Champ’s greatest racemare Olympic Duel.
The Nijinsky II son is also found in the pedigrees of current South African stallions Gold Standard, Redoute’s Promise and William Longsword.