A Remarkable Family

The powerful equine armoury of Drakenstein Stud

The powerful equine armoury of Drakenstein Stud was out in full force at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth last weekend, where homebred filly Winter Cloud got one over her rivals with a sparkling victory in the Gr3 Champagne Stakes.

The three-year-old is yet another feather in the cap for resident stallion What A Winter, sire also of her Gr1 winning older sister Clouds Unfold.

Winter Cloud stamps her authority under Anthony Andrews (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

Drakenstein imported their dam Montelissima as a four-year-old maiden mare. By Montjeu, she was quick off mark with her second foal, Clouds Unfold, a winner of the Gr1 Majorca Stakes at three and again at four, when she defeated Celtic Sea in an epic finish.

A repeat mating to What Winter four years later resulted in Winter Cloud, who likewise joined the stable of Candice Bass-Robinson.

Winter Cloud showed as a juvenile that she too, lacked nothing in talent and put together a fine treble of wins, which included both the Gr3 Cape Of Good Hope Nursery (a race her sister had won before her) and Gr3 Strelitzia Stakes before earning Gr1 black type with a second behind Mrs Geriatrix in the Allan Robertson Championship.

Her Champagne victory has no doubt earned her a return trip to the Pietermaritzburg track and a tilt at at the Gr1 SA Fillies Sprint.

Winter Cloud’s grandam Issa followed Montelissima to Drakenstein and arrived in South Africa carrying the Pivotal colt Pivotal Pursuit, who was destined to become a Gr2-placed winner of nine races.

Sadly, Issa died all too early at age ten, but left the best for last. Her final foal, the Antonius Pius filly Arria became her dam’s sole stakes winner in an all-female finish to the Listed Summer Juvenile Stakes.

‘Incestuous’ is probably a fitting word to describe the mating which produced Arria, as Issa is an own sister to the dam of Antonius Pius, the Yorkshire and Lancashire Oaks winner Catchascatchcan.

Winter Cloud’s female line may be totally British, yet it has enjoyed a good deal of success in this country.

Candice and Mark Bass welcome the smart winner (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

Winter Cloud traces to Ribblesdale winner Ostrya, a grandaughter of the non-winner Silvery Moon, who did much better in the paddocks as the dam of two stakes winners: Coronation Cup winner Oncidium, who became a champion stallion in Australia and New Zealand and Ostrya’s dam Malcolmia, a winner of Epsom’s Ebbisham Stakes.

Interestingly, Silvery Moon has exerted her influence in South Africa in more than one way, given that her half-sister Donah is the grandam of Sleeping Partner, who swept to victory in the 1969 Epsom Oaks under none other than South African John Gorton!

Fast forward to 1981, when the late Pat O’Neill imported the accomplished racehorse Averof.

Out of Silvery Moon’s Gr3-placed daughter Argentina, he had won all of the Gr2 St James’s Palace, Gr3 Diomed and Gr3 Dee Stakes.

The Hon. Pat Cavendish O'Neill

The late Pat O’Neill imported Averof (Pic – Supplied)

A handsome bay of great balance and symmetry and a grand walker, the son of Sing Sing swapped England for Broadlands Stud, having stood six seasons in the UK.

Whether it was the African sun on his back or access to a different cross-section of mares, Averof absolutely blossomed in his new home. During his decade-long stint at Broadlands, he gave us the likes of Foveros, Priceless Asset, Pedometer, Milleverof and Dynamite Lady and to this day, his name still pops up reguarly in pedigrees through the likes of Pomodoro and of course the daughters of Foveros, who became a king amongst stallions, leading the General Sires list on no less than nine occasions, eight of which consecutively.

Incidentally, Averof’s older full brother Buffo also stood in South Africa and while he never reached similar heights, he did sire champion juvenile Creator and the outstanding filly Sistematic.

Then of course there was the phenomenal Flaming Rock.

Bred in Ireland and imported as a foal at foot, he was out of Averof’s half-sister Flogera. Chris Snaith trained “The Rocket”, who blazed a glorious trail across the skyline of South African racing, carrying the late Shirley Pfeiffer’s silks to 18 victories, amongst which the Gr1 Rothmans July, Queen’s Plate and three renewals of the Schweppes Challenge.

Twice voted Horse of the Year, the handsome bay retired to his owner’s Arc-En-Ciel Stud, but left just three crops before his untimely death at age nine. Sire of Gr1 Cape Paddock winner Savannah Queen, he also features as the broodmare sire of Horse of the Year Irish Flame and Gr1 winning juvenile Talahatchie.

Antonius Pius

Antonius Pius (Danzig – Catchascatchcan)

Antonius Pius, mentioned above, stood at Ridgemont Highlands.

A Gr2 winner who placed in both the Gr1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp and Gr1 St James’s Palace Stakes, he counts Drakenstein matron My Sanctuary amongst his stakes winners. She too has become a treasured member of the farm’s broodmare band as the dam of Champion three-year-old and Gr1 winner Safe Passage and his stakes winning Silvano full sister Silver Sanctuary, who boasts seconds in this season’s Gr1 Cape Fillies Guineas and Gr1 Wilgerbosdrift SA Fillies Classic.

Juvenile colt Winds Of Change, by What A Winter, became My Sanctuary’s latest black type performer when runner-up in the Gr3 Cape of Good Hope Nursery.

Meanwhile, Winter Cloud is the horse driving this remarkable female family at present.

She will continue in her quest for a coveted Gr1 success, one which will further enhance its legacy in this country.

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