As the clock ticks onward toward the 2020 Vodacom Durban July, we look back at the 2003 renewal of the country’s premier event and a scarcely believable victory by three-year-old Dynasty.
Drawn deepest of all, the colt was forced to race wide throughout, yet flew up on the standside to run down Yard-Arm and win going away.
Voted the country’s Horse of the Year and Champion three-year-old of the season, the son of Fort Wood went on to enjoy a stellar stud career at Ridgemont Highlands, emulating his father by siring a trio of Horse of the Year recipients.
Although he died in 2019, Dynasty rates the most likely candidate to perpetuate the Fort Wood male line, that much was evident from the success enjoyed by his stallion sons this past week.
Triple Gr1 winning son Jackson, who joined his sire at Ridgemont Highlands following a sparkling racing career, had the honour of siring the first two past the post in the postponed Winter Solstice Stormsvlei Stakes at Kenilworth.
Three-year-old daughters Eva Eileen and Flame Tree dominated the finish, with the former taking the Listed race by a neck, the pair finishing clear of the balance.
Eva Eileen is her young sire’s second stakes winner, the first, four-year-old Pretty Young Thing, had landed the Gr3 Prix du Cap in February and recently scored a fluent victory in the Gr3 Poinsettia Stakes at Hollywoodbets Greyville.
Freshman sons Legislate and Futura also caught the eye with a number of first-crop winners.
Legislate’s link to the July is a tangible one, he emulated his own sire by winning the 2014 renewal, albeit in the boardroom.
After a somewhat slow start to his second career, the former Horse of the Year suddenly hit full stride with a vengeance.
Within a week of juvenile son Speed Machine’s impressive four-length victory at Kenilworth on June 29, Legislate added a quickfire double, courtesy of Toto’s maiden victory at Turffontein, followed by Veronica Mars, who defied her 20-1 odds to score up the Kenilworth straight.
The trio are part of their sire’s small first crop conceived at Drakenstein Stud.
Found to be sub-fertile, Legislate was returned to training, won a barrier trial and was retired again, this time to birthplace Cheveley Stud, just as his second crop of foals were hitting the ground.
Drakenstein added not just Legislate, but also paternal half-brother Futura to their stallion roster in 2016.
Unraced at two, he blossomed with maturity to become his sire’s third Horse of the Year recipient following a smashing four-year-old season highlighted by a coveted J&B Met/L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate double.
Remarkably, he beat Legislate to a first winner and a black type runner and currently trails only Global View in the race to the leading freshman sires title.
His first winner, Karnallie, cracked his maiden in February and since the lockdown was lifted, he has sired another four winners.
This past weekend, Calgary justified cramped odds with a fluent maiden win at Fairview, followed just 48 hours later by Karnallie’s stable companion Nourbese, who built on a third in the Gr2 SA Nursery to score with authority at Turffontein.
Third leading freshman sire of the season is also a son of Dynasty, this the top class miler Act Of War.
Out of a Cordoba mare, he was always going to be more precocious than his sire’s typical late-maturing stock and proved that by winning the Gr3 Langerman and Listed Winter Juvenile Stakes at two. By the time he joined the Summerhill stallion roster, he had won eight of twelve starts from two to four, his six Graded Stakes wins including a classic success in the ‘stallion-making’ Gr1 Cape Guineas.
Act Of War came up trumps with his first runner, the lightning-fast colt Daichi, who is unbeaten in two starts, the most recent of which a seven-length romp up the Fairview strip.
Better still, Act Of War’s two subsequent winners already have black type to their names. War Of Athena flew late for third in the Gr1 Allan Robertson Championship, while Stella’s Act placed in the Listed Devon Air Stakes.
With a pair of sons amongst the first three leading freshman stallions, Dynasty is fast living up to his name as a sire of sires.
Who knows, we may well see a grandson or even a grandaughter wear the July sash in years to come!