Dominant Dancer

Legendary Canadian dominates July fields

Northern Dancer

Northern Dancer

The Northern Dancer male line has dominated major Grade One races for over 30 years. This year’s big Vodacom Durban July race meeting is no exception.

Not one of the 16 runners in the Vodacom Durban July are free of Northern Dancer blood.  Of the 16 runners for South Africa’s most celebrated horse-race, 13 are inbred to the mighty stallion. Dansili (sire of Espumanti), Black Minnaloushe (sire of Louis The King), and Redoute’s Choice (sire of Wylie Hall) are all inbred to Northern Dancer.

It is a similar affair in the afternoon’s three other Grade One features. All 16 fillies in the Gr1 Zulu Kingdom Golden Slipper have at least one strain of Northern Dancer in their five generation pedigrees, while it is the same story with their male counterparts in the Gr1 Durban Golden Horseshoe.

Heavy favourite, Beach Beauty, tops the line up for the final Grade One contest – the Jonssons Workwear Garden Province Stakes.  The magnificent daughter of Dynasty traces back directly in male line to Northern Dancer (who like Beach Beauty was famous for his lack of height). The Garden Province field consists of 11 fillies and mares, all of whom contain at least one line of “the Dancer” in her pedigree.

Inevitably the legendary Canadian stallion has dominated the runnings of the Vodacom Durban July since the 1990’s. Grandson Dancing Champ (by Nijinsky II) was responsible for a pair of consecutive July winners in Dancing Duel (1993) and Space Walk (1994) respectively, while Northern Dancer was broodmare sire of the diminutive 1995 Rothmans July winner Teal. Northern Dancer line descendants Super Quality (by Lyphard horse Elliodor) and Classic Flag (by Danzig’s son Allied Flag) scored in 1997 and 1998 respectively, while Elliodor was also the broodmare sire of 2001 Rothman’s July winner Trademark. Dynasty, by Sadler’s Wells’ champion son Fort Wood, won in 2003, with another son of Fort Wood, Hunting Tower, successful in 2007.

The Sadler’s Wells branch has enjoyed considerable success in the Vodacom Durban July, with Fort Wood providing two winners, and fellow Sadler’s Wells sons Galileo and Casey Tibbs siring Igugu (2011) and Big City Life (2009) respectively.

Last year, four of the first five home were all directly descended from Northern Dancer.

Since 2006, all of the July winners are directly descended in male line from Northern Dancer.



Another interesting feature of the 2014 Vodacom Durban July field is how former champion sire Fort Wood dominates the field.  Fort Wood’s son Dynasty is the sire of fancied runners in Legislate and Futura respectively, while another Fort Wood sired champion, Horse Chestnut, is the sire of another top 3yo contender in Rake’s Chestnut.

Fort Wood is also the broodmare sire of 2014 Vodacom Durban July runners Capetown Noir, Cherry On The Top, Halve The Deficit, and Captain America. In other words, Fort Wood (without question the most influential stallion alive in South Africa) appears in the pedigrees of 50% of the 2014 Vodacom Durban July!

Of the 16 runners in the 2014 July, five (Legislate, Rake’s Chestnut, Futura, Captain America, Jet Belle and In The Fast Lane) are by South African bred stallions.

Legislate (Dynasty), Futura (Dynasty) and King Of Pain (Greys Inn) are all sired by former Vodacom Durban July winners while Rakeen (3rd in the July in 1991) is the broodmare sire of Rake’s Chestnut and his son Jet Master (sire of past July winners Pocket Power and Pomodoro) is the sire of 2014 July runners Jet Belle and In The Fast Lane.



Just two sires of runners in the 2014 Vodacom Durban July have been represented by past winners. Jet Master (Jet Belle, In The Fast Lane) had the above mentioned pair, while Silvano, whose sons Bold Silvano and Heavy Metal both won the July, will be represented by Tellina and Punta Arenas. Interestingly, both Tellina and Punta Arenas are both bred on the same Silvano/Blushing Groom cross which produced Heavy Metal, with Tellina out of a Spectrum mare and Punta Arenas a daughter of Candy Stripes. Clearly, the Nijinsky II/Blushing Groom magic is still alive and kicking in South Africa!

The female side of the 2014 Vodacom Durban July field is a mixed bag. Only four of the runners (Halve The Deficit, Jet Belle, Cherry On The Top and In The Fast Lane) are out of stakes winning racemares, while Jet Belle being the sole runner produced by a Gr1 winner (her dam Bella Bianca won the Gr1 Gold Cup in 1998).

In The Fast Lane’s dam, First Arrival, has been a truly outstanding broodmare, and this multiple Gr1 producer could have runners in two Grade One races on Saturday – with her son Light The Lights (Western Winter) the first reserve runner in the Gr1 Durban Golden Horseshoe. First Arrival, along with the likes of Crimson Lily (dam of 3 major stakes winners including Dynastic Power) and Star Of Arcole (dam of 3 Oaks winners), must have thrown her name into the hat for the Equus Award of Broodmare Of The Year!

Two other runners, Captain America and Capetown Noir, are out of mares who were stakes placed.

The last Vodacom Durban July winner produced by a top-class racemare was Pomodoro, successful in 2012. He was produced by Gr2 Gosforth Park Fillies Guineas winner Golden Apple.

One sire strongly represented in Saturday’s Grade 1 features is former Cape Guineas winner Captain Al. Captain Al’s runners include Captain America in the July, three fillies (Carry on Alice, Pine Princess and Eros’s Girl) in the Gr1 Zulu Kingdom Golden Slipper, Captain Clipper in the Gr1 Durban Golden Horseshoe and outsider Love Vivien in the Gr1 Jonssons Workwear Garden Province Stakes.


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