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Breeding A July Winner – Logic, Luck Or Genius?

A wonderful family!

The late Highlands standout stallion Dynasty enjoyed a dream weekend, siring no less than four stakes winners, the undisputed highlight of which was Belgarion’s storming victory in the Gr1 Vodacom Durban July at Hollywoodbets Greyville.

For stalwart owner/breeders Alec and Gillian Foster, the stars also aligned, as their four-year-old homebred provided them with a well-deserved first success in this, the most iconic of races.

John Freeman, Alec and the Honourable Gillian Foster

Loyal supporters of South African racing for more than three decades, the Fosters bred Belgarion from German import Riva. Remarkably, a closer inspection of Belgarion’s pedigree reveals that both Dynasty and Riva descend from Black Brook, a daughter of the influential taproot mare Source Sucree, who achieved lasting fame as the dam of successful racer and breed-shaping sire Turn-To.

She was out of Lord Derby’s celebrated broodmare Sweet Lavender.

Sired by Sir Gallahad III’s son Black Devil, Black Brook could run a bit herself, winning eight races in France. At stud she produced five winners, amongst which the half-sisters Lavenda II and Botany Bay.

Lavenda II, by Prince Chevalier, proved a decent stayer, winning four times from 2000 to 3000m.

Belgarion – with his Mum Riva at 1 week

Mated to the fine sprinter Abernant, she produced Lavenda Lady, who never raced and was imported by the late Port Elizabeth breeder Dudley Austen, for whom she bred six winners headed by Gr3 Concord Stakes and Gr1 Computaform Sprint third Red Bishop (Damask) and the stakes winning juvenile filly Dark Moon (Contraband).

Mated to the Dells’ top stallion Joy II, Lavenda Lady also produced the filly Joy Petite and this is where things get interesting.

Joy II, the three-part brother to classic winner and top sire My Babu, was one of a number of fine stallion sons out of Perfume II, a grey half-sister to Source Sucree, the dam of Black Brook.

Joy Petite never saw a racetrack and bred little of consequence, however, her winning daughter Blakes Affair, by Blakeney’s late-maturing son Commodore Blake, revived the family fortunes in dramatic fashion.

She was acquired by the late Harry Oppenheimer and when mated to Fort Wood, produced the fine stayer Sequoia, winner of the Gr2 Gold Vase and runner-up in the then Gr1 Gold Cup.

Calm before the 2003 Vodacom Durban Dynasty canters down

By the time Blakes Affair’s dropped her 1999 Fort Wood foal, she had passed into the ownership of Oppenheimer’s daughter Mary Slack, whose Wilgerbosdrift is the registered breeder of said foal, a colt named Dynasty. The rest, as they say, is history!

Lavenda II’s half-sister Botany Bay, by once-raced East Side II, was a modest winner in France, but proved her métier as a broodmare.

A number of her daughters excelled both on the track and at stud, prime amongst which her daughter Kaliopi, who landed the Prix Penelope and ran third in the Gr1 Prix Saint-Alary.  Interestingly, she was sired by Klairon, whose dam Kalmia, was a daughter of Sweet Lavender, the grandam of Source Sucree.

When bred to Targowice, Kaliopi produced Gr3 Prix de Sandringham victress Alik.

It so happens that the champion miler Irish River was by Riverman out of Kaliopi’s half-sister Irish Star, therefore it was a given that Alik would also visit the son of Never Bend in the hope of replicating that brilliance.

However, the vagaries of genetics determined that the result of that mating, a filly named Rivala, managed just a single place at three! Nevertheless, her bloodlines earned Rivala a place at stud and when mated to German champion Acatenango, the resultant foal was Riva.

A winner twice in Germany, she was destined to spend her broodmare career in South Africa and on Saturday, she stepped into the history books as the dam of a July winner.

Whether the mating which produced Belgarion can be regarded as logical, a huge stroke of luck or a work of genius, it is no consequence that both his parents carry multiple lines of one of the most influential families of the previous century.

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1 comment on “Breeding A July Winner – Logic, Luck Or Genius?

  1. PL.NEL says:

    What an amazing journey wrapped in aspiration and perseverance. Bravo to all concerned and long live the breed. Cheers.

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