After The Storm – Pippa’s Team Are Ready For Nationals

Save the date - 18 and 19 April!

Fresh off a Turffontein feature victory with Dreamland in the Betway Mythical Flight Sprint on Saturday, Pippa Mickleburgh told the Sporting Post that last Sunday’s massive storm that ravaged the area was the worst that she has experienced, in her 35 years at the magnificent Avontuur Estate,

At the weekend, the South African Weather Service issued an orange-level 9 (out of 10) disruptive rain warning, and it proved ominously on the mark.

Century old trees were ripped up at Avontuur (Pic – Supplied)

The Helderberg region was on the receiving end of a wind lashing last weekend, which culminated in a downpour, leaving hundreds of residents counting the damage, with some severely impacted families left homeless and roads throughout the area scattered with debris. Many century old oak trees were also lost.

“We probably have had more rain in the past, but never wind and consequent damage as we experienced on this scale. But in comparison to some properties around us, where entire buildings have been destroyed and homes lost, we have been fortunate. And the horses and our staff are all safe, and that’s what counts,” added Pippa, who said that it was all systems go for the National Yearling Sale.

With roads impassable and destroyed by Mother Nature, there was only a minor delay in transferring the valuable cargo North.

Pippa and team supervising the ‘national squad’ on departure for Johannesburg this week (Pic – Supplied)

The exciting Avontuur Nationals class of ’24, including yearlings by all of Captain Of All, Erupt, Futura, Gimmethegreenlight, One World, Oratorio, Vercingetorix, and What A Winter, left the farm on Tuesday, and Pippa reports that they are all safe and settled at the TBA Sale Complex in Johannesburg.

The home of a generation of champions, including the likes of Legal Eagle and Val De Ra, Avontuur are enjoying another wonderful season.

Avontuur bred recent Gr1 Jonsson Workwear Computaform Sprint winner Thunderstruck (also victorious in the 2024 Gr2 Khaya Stables Diadem Stakes), the farm also bred recent graded stakes winners Litigation (Gr3 Betway London News Stakes) and October Morn (Gr2 Cartier Sceptre Stakes).

Pippa Mickleburgh said that her National draft are all in all, ‘a super bunch and have been an absolute pleasure to prep’.

One of South Africa’s most experienced breeders, she singled out the undermentioned yearlings as standouts in Avontuur’s draft.

Given his name, could the omen point to October Storm (#245)?

Calm before the storm? Lot 245, October Storm

Pippa’s thoughts on the colts:

Lot 245: October Storm c by Vercingetorix ex Miss October.

“An exciting colt. Tall athletic and very correct. Looks like a true miler. Has a stunning temperament and the mare has been a real star. So definitely a horse that will attract nice interest.”

Lot 130: Headstart c by Gimmethegrenlight ex Esteemal

Very strong rugged colt..powerful hind quarter and sure has a desire to ” move”… proper colt from a young mare from a lovely family..exciting colt.

Lot 358: Constellation c by What A Winter ex Star Burst  Galaxy

“A classy speed machine bred to win someone the Computaform Sprint! A beautiful looker he reminds me lot of the Vars of the past.”

Pippa on the fillies

“Both One World fillies (Lot 32, Lot 53) are big and strong, correct and easy moving types. I am very chuffed with both of them. Plain bays but they both have, I think, an X factor. I do like Apostrophe (Lot 299), I see her half sister, Valieva, just ran second.She is a tall athletic daughter of Futura a beauty with a lovely female line to boot. She could be anything.”

The Avontuur draft can be found in Block C at the TBA Complex in Germiston.

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