The announcement of the retirement of Silvano from stud duties last week marked the end of an era in South African horseracing.
The most dominant sire in the country at the time of his retirement, Silvano has already topped the SA General Sires List five times, and it is surely only a matter of time before the son of Lomitas comes up with his 100th individual stakes winner – his currently tally of black type winners is 97.
Interestingly, he retires from stud duty 50 years on from the year his great grandsire Nijinsky II captured the English Triple Crown.
Silvano has achieved some impressive feats during his South African stud career, and below are just five of the highlights:
- July domination
Few, if any, stallions in recent memory enjoyed more success in the Gr1 Vodacom Durban July than did Silvano. Not only was he responsible for July winners Bold Silvano (2010), Heavy Metal (2013), Power King (2015) and Marinaresco (2017), his sons (Power King, Punta Arenas, Tellina) ran 1-2-3 in the July of 2015.
Silvano was responsible for 2017 July runner up Al Sahem, Do You Remember (third to Heavy Metal in the 2013 July), Elusive Silva (3rd in the 2018 July), while his daughter Nightingale ran fourth in the July of 2017- behind paternal half-brothers Marinaresco and Al Sahem.
- SA Derby/Oaks double
Yet another notable accomplishment achieved by Silvano was his SA Derby/Oaks double which he achieved in 2017 with son Al Sahem landing the Derby and daughter Wind Chill landing the Oaks – Wind Chill beat fellow Silvano daughter Oriental Oak into second place in the process.
Silvano also pulled off that double in 2008 when his son Kings Gambit landed the Derby and daughter Happy Spirit was awarded victory in the SA Oaks. He also pulled off a notable feat in 2019 when his son Hawwaam won the Gr1 Daily News 2000 and daughter Silvano’s Pride the Gr1 Woolavington 2000 on the same day.
- SA’s middle distance races triumphs
Silvano has built up a remarkable record in South Africa’s major middle distance races -with four July winners to his name, a Met winner (Martial Eagle), two Champions Challenge winners – his son Hawwaam won that race twice – while another son Heavy Metal won in 2013, and three Summer Cup winners-Aslan, Flirtation and Zillzaal. The only major South African race to have eluded Silvano thus far is the Gr1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate.
Since his first South African crop arrived, Silvano has consistently produced high-class performers. His first local crop of foals included six black type performers, with his first South African crop headed by Equus Champion, and Gr1 SA Derby winner, Kings Gambit.
His second local crop contained the Gr1 winners Aslan and Martial Eagle, with subsequent crops continuing to impress.
To date, Silvano’s least successful South African crop was that born in 2011 -producing just a pair of graded stakes winners in the form of Balance Sheet and St Tropez. In contrast, his most potent crop in SA thus far was born in 2012, and that crop included no fewer than 11 graded stakes winners-notably the Gr1 winners Marinaresco, Nightingale and Silver Mountain.
- 1-2-3 finishes
Silvano has compiled a remarkable record in South Africa’s biggest races, and on more than one occasion his progeny have completely dominated the finish to a major contest.
Not only did his sons run 1-2-3 in the 2015 July, but Silvano sons Zillzaal and Almutawakel ran 1-3 in the 2019 Gr1 Gauteng Chris Gerber Summer Cup, while daughter Flirtation beat Silvano sons Rudi Rocks and Aslan into third and fourth respectively in the 2010 Sansui Summer Cup, and Silvano daughters Nightingale and Star Express ran 1-2 in the Gr1 Majorca Stakes of 2017. Silvano’s Pride and Blossom provided more gloss on their sire’s fine record when finishing 1-3 in the 2019 Gr1 Woolavington 2000.