A Summer In The Woods

Horse Chestnut's first SA Gr1 winning male

While the 2018 G-Bets Gauteng Gr1 Summer Cup was a feather in the cap of deceased Triple Crown winner Horse Chestnut, the R2 000 000 Turffontein feature race also highlighted the ongoing influence of former champion sire Fort Wood.

Fort Wood

Fort Wood (Sadler’s Wells – Fall Aspen)

Sarah Whitelaw writes that the latter had a trio of sire sons represented in this year’s Summer Cup, with Dynasty responsible for Liege, Sabina’s Dynasty, Noble Secret and Kilrain,  Secret Potion and Fort Ember (both by Elusive Fort), and Horse Chestnut the sire of the winner.

For the second year running the Summer Cup went the way of a grandson of Fort Wood, with Tilbury Fort following in the footsteps of Liege – a  son of Fort Wood’s outstanding son Dynasty.

Tilbury Fort – Horse Chestnut’s first Gr1 winner in SA

Tilbury Fort is the first son of Horse Chestnut to win a Gr1 race in South Africa, with his sire’s previous top level winners including the fillies Chestnuts ‘N Pearls (Golden Slipper) and Lucifer’s Stone (Garden City BC Handicap).

Wells, Wells, Wells!

Sadler’s Wells, the sire of Fort Wood, was even more dominant in the pedigrees of this year’s Summer Cup, with third place finisher Cascapedia a daughter of the Sadler’s Wells champion High Chaparral, and Galileo broodmare sire of Summer Cup sixth place finisher Like A Panther.

High Chaparral daughter Cascapedia ran third in the Summer Cup

Fort Wood was only champion sire once (1998-1999) but he continues to be a force to be reckoned with in pedigrees in South Africa through his sire sons and numerous high class broodmare daughters.

Last season Fort Wood ended up second on the South African Broodmare Sires List, with his daughters’ offspring earning more than R20 million. Prior to 2017-2018, Fort Wood had been champion broodmare sire three seasons in a row and his daughters have already produced a number of Gr1 winners/champions – namely Cherry On The Top (Triple Tiara), Marinaresco (Vodacom Durban July), the ill-fated Noah From Goa (Cape Guineas), and triple G1 winner Captain America.

Future Bright

His presence in pedigrees of major South African winners could continue for seasons to come, as Fort Wood is broodmare sire of Cape Guineas winning sire William Longsword (Captain Al) who has been very well supported since retiring to stud.

William Longsword winning the Cape Guineas

Fort Wood is also broodmare sire of Equus Champion Capetown Noir (Western Winter), who, like William Longsword, won the Cape Guineas, and whose first crop race this season. A son of Fort Wood’s Broodmare Of The Year Akinfeet, Capetown Noir proved popular at the recent Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale where he had two lots fetch R500 000 and R425 000 respectively.

Fort Wood’s influence on the Cape Guineas, South Africa’s premier race for 3yos, has been quite outstanding. Not only is he damsire of former winners Capetown Noir, Noah From Goa and William Longsword, but Horse Chestnut won the 1999 Cape Guineas by over seven lengths.

2012 Gr1 CTS Cape Guineas

Capetown Noir wins the Gr1 Cape Guineas

Another son of Fort Wood, former Cape Guineas runner up Dynasty, is the sire of 2014 Cape Guineas winner Act Of War who is now at stud, while both Dynasty and Elusive Fort have sons entered in the 2018 Cape Guineas.

Needless to say, Fort Wood granddaughters are also making their presence felt – both locally and internationally. Dynasty, still a young broodmare sire, produced last season’s Langerman second and third place finishers Frank Lloyd Wright (Captain Al) and Charles (Trippi) respectively, and, with a host of Gr1 winning daughters yet to be represented as broodmares, Dynasty can only build on this start.

Broodmare Sire

The deceased Horse Chestnut is a well-established broodmare sire, with his daughters having produced notable Gr1 winners all over the world, including local champion and Gr1 J&B Met winner Smart Call (who also won the Gr3 Stobart Energy Hopping Fillies’ Stakes in Britain). Other Gr1 winners produced by Horse Chestnut mares include Zipessa (First Lady Stakes), Cannock Chase (Canadian International), and Fault (Santa Margarita Stakes), while Horse Chestnut’s stakes winning daughter In Return produced a pair of Gr1 winners in 2018 – namely Channel Maker (Turf Classic) and Johnny Bear (Northern Dancer Turf Stakes).

Elusive Fort

Elusive Fort (Fort Wood – Ever Seeking)

Triple Gr1 winner Elusive Fort has enjoyed considerable success as a sire of high class fillies, with his daughters including Gr1 winners Siren’s Call and Lauderdale as well as the likes of Safe Harbour, Fort Ember and Secret Potion, and it is hard to believe he won’t make his mark as a broodmare sire as well.

The ongoing influence of Sadler’s Wells in this country comes mainly through Fort Wood, although it is interesting to note that Africa Rising, the impressive winner of Saturday’s Gr2 Goldrush Derby Run Merchants, is out of a mare by Sadler’s Wells Gr1 winner Braashee, and 2018 Vodacom Durban July victor Do It Again’s dam, the triple Gr3 winning Sweet Virginia, is a daughter of Sadler’s Wells son Casey Tibbs. Remarkably the first two finishers in last season’s July were out of Casey Tibbs daughters – with runner up Made To Conquer a son of Casey Tibbs’ SA Oaks winner Festive Occasion.

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