A Western influence

Capetown Noir’s stunning win in the recent Gr1 Cape Premier Yearling Sale Guineas was yet a tremendous compliment to his sire Western Winter. He is the 20th Grade One winner for the stallion, who has topped the South African sires list three times, and has a plethora of sire sons at stud.

Western Winter is a son of Gone West, a horse who has strong claims to being the great Mr Prospector’s most influential sire son. Gone West himself never topped the US general sires list, but did leave behind over 100 stakes winners, of both sexes. His offspring have earned over $103 million in prize money, and he has also become an important broodmare sire – with his daughters producing such Gr1 winners as Epsom Derby winner Motivator and champion filly, Awesome Feather.

The son of Mr Prospector compiled a formidable record on racing’s biggest day – the Breeders Cup. He sired winners Speightstown, Da Hoss, and Johar (Breeders Cup Turf). Gone West is also broodmare sire of Gr1 Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies winner, Awesome Feather.

Gone West has definitely made his presence felt in South Africa , not only through Western Winter but also through West Man, sire of G1 winners Silver Sliver and Roaring Sands.

Gone West’s son Zafonic left behind the successful Count Dubois, sire of champion filly Asylum Seeker and Gr1 winners Zeeno and Zaitoon.

However, Gone West, who died three years ago at the age of 25, has had an even greater influence outside of this country. His influence stretches from Argentina to Australia , and Gone West sire sons have also made a tremendous impact in the Northern Hemisphere.

The son of Mr Prospector, born in 1984, was one of an exceptional crop which included the likes of subsequent successful sires Afleet, Gulch and Cryptoclearance.

He scored his biggest career win in the Gr1 Dwyer Stakes, which he won by 12.5 lengths, and was runner up to fellow Mr Prospector son, Gulch, in the Gr1 Wood Memorial.

Retired to stud with 6 wins from 17 starts, Gone West was quick off the mark. His first crop included eight stakes horses, including West By West (Gr1 Nassau County Handicap).

His 1990 crop included two G1 winners – Link River , and Gone West’s first really important son, Zafonic. An exceptional juvenile, Zafonic was a brilliant winner of the 1993 2000 Guineas , slamming subsequent Breeders Cup Mile winner Barathea in the process. He also became a successful sire, prior to his untimely death in Australia . Zafonic’s 53 stakes winners include champion Xaar and July Cup runner up Iffraaj. Both horses went onto enjoy some success at stud. Another son of Zafonic, Modus Vivendi, is the sire of champion South African racemare, Dancewiththedevil.

Zafonic has also become a successful broodmare sire, with his daughters having produced over 40 stakes winners, including G1 winners Zambezi Sun, Awzaan, Vadawina, Zafisio and Izzi Top.

While Gone West’s 1991 crop produced six black type performers, his following crop produced two leading sires in Western Winter, and successful US sire, Mr. Greeley. Runner up in the Breeders Cup Sprint, Mr Greeley sired over 50 stakes winners prior to his death. His tally included G1 winners El Corredor, Western Aristocrat, Reel Buddy and Crusade  -the latter having retired to stud in KZN for the 2013 season.

Gone West’s crop of 1992 also included the remarkable gelding, Da Hoss – a dual winner of the Gr1 Breeders Cup, and three other graded stakes winners.

One of his very best sire sons, Elusive Quality, was foaled in 1993. A world record holder on turf, Elusive Quality was champion sire in the USA in 2004 – the year when his son, Smarty Jones, won both the G1 Kentucky Derby and G1 Preakness Stakes. Smarty, who was banished to Pennsylvania following a disappointing start to his stud career, has sired graded winners Sunrise Smarty, Old Time Hockey, Better Liffe, Rogue Romance, Backtalk and

Other stars sired by Elusive Quality include G1 Golden Slipper winner Sepoy, G1 Prix Morny hero Elusive City (sire of French classic winner Elusive Wave), and G1 Breeders Cup Classic victor Raven’s Pass. The latter has made a fine start to his stud career, with his first crop of 2yos in 2012 including the G2 winner, Steeler.

The 1993 foal crop also included Manaloj – sire of South Africa ’s G1 Gold Cup hero Mokaro, who earned over R1.4 million on the track.

While Gone West’s 1994 crop produced nothing of real note, the stallion came up with another crackerjack in 1995. His son, Grand Slam, was one of the US ’s top 2yos of 1997, when he won both the Gr1 Champagne Stakes and G1 Futurity Stakes. Retired to stud, Grand Slam sired a host of top performers in Kentucky , prior to his untimely demise. His big race winners included G1 Breeders Cup Sprint winner Cajun Beat, millionaire and useful sire Limehouse, G1 winner The Lumber Guy, and Gr1 King’s Bishop Stakes hero Visionaire – the latter is currently standing at Summerhill Stud.

Gone West’s sole US classic winner, Commendable, was foaled in 1997. The chestnut won the Gr1 Belmont Stakes, but failed at stud, and was sent to Korea .

A year later, Gone West produced Speightstown, a champion sprinter who won the G1 Breeders Cup Sprint.

Currently one of the US ’s leading sires, Speightstown has sired such Gr1 winners as Haynesfield (Jockey Club Gold Cup), Golden Ticket (Travers Stakes), Lord Shanakil (Prix Jean Prat), and Poseidon’s Warrior (A G Vanderbilt S). He has excellent statistics, and is building up strong claims to being his sire’s very best sire son.

Gone West’s masterpiece came in the form of his foal crop of 1999. This included eight stakes winners – which included top level winners Johar, Came Home and Changingoftheweather. Another top-class colt from this crop was Kentucky Derby runner up, Proud Citizen, who has done well at stud, siring two Gr1 Kentucky Oaks winners in Proud Spell and Believe You Can respectively.

His Turf winning son, Johar, has not been the most consistent of sires, but has produced the likes of Gr1 winners Joha (Breeders Futurity), Guiseppina (Telegraph Hcp) and champion Canadian filly, Tu Endie Wei.

The stallion’s final Gr1 winner came in the form of Zaftig, who landed the 2008 Acorn Stakes.

Gone West compiled a stud record comparable with any of the leading US sires of recent times. His influence has extended past one generation, and the name of Gone West is likely to be around in the modern thoroughbred for years to come.

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