Here and Elsewhere – 10 Feb

Sunshine Lover
Few mares have as remarkable a strike rate as Sunshine Lover (Badger Land). The Team Valor owned broodmare has been represented by only two runners to date, and both are classic winning fillies. Her first, Captain’s Lover, not only won the Gr1 Cape Fillies Guineas but also became the first SAF bred filly to win a group race in France (G3Prix du Pin). Sunshine Lover’s second runner was this season’s Gr1 Avontuur Estate Cape Fillies Guineas winner Ebony Flyer (Jet Master).
Sunshine Lover is also the dam of an unnamed Captain Al colt, who sold for R1.7 million at the recent Cape Premier Yearling Sale.
Her owner, Barry Irwin, recently was the winning bidder on a service to Western Winter, at the recent Cocktails and Racing evening, just prior to the Met .
Barry told me he is planning on sending Sunshine Lover to Western Winter – which looks to be a wonderful mating.

Western Winter, a former champion sire, has really enjoyed a purple patch of late – and is the sire of no fewer than three individual Gr1 winning 3yo’s this season. This is a tremendous feat, especially when considering the fact that we are only in February and that Western Winters tend to improve with age.

Ashaawes foals
There has been plenty of praise for the foals of young stallion, Ashaawes. His foals are said to athletic and racy, and bear a striking resemblance to their sire. Ashaawes himself, whose first crop are yearlings, recently had one of his first crop sell for more than ten times his service fee – an impressive achievement. Ashaawes’ sire, Kingmambo, has really been in the news as a sire of sires. Last year, two sons of Kingmambo, King’s Best and King Kamehameha, were champion sires in France and Japan respectively.

Ashaawes, who won three of his four starts, is out of a Seattle Slew mare, and thus bred on the cross which produced Lemon Drop Kid, a champion on the racetrack, and arguably Kingmambo’s best international sire son to date.

Half brother to SA Gr1 Winner fetches huge money in NZ
A half-brother to SA Gr1 winner Gold Onyx (Black Minnaloushe), was one of the most sought after yearlings at the recent Premier Yearling Sale in New Zealand. A bay son of current leading Australian sire High Chaparral, he was knocked down for $625,000 to Hong Kong interests. Unnamed, the colt, out of the stakes winning Egoli Lass (Kaapstad), was the fourth most expensive colt sold at the Premier Sale. He was also the highest High Chaparral yearling on sale. His sire, who is leading the Australian general sires list, made an exceptional start to his Southern Hemisphere stud career, with his first crop including  four individual Gr1 winners. High Chaparral’s first crop of New Zealand breds include the champion So You Think, who is now at Ballydoyle in the hands of High Chaparral’s former trainer, Aidan O’Brien.

US star continues great run for stallion
Giant Oak, winner of Saturday’s G1 Donn Handicap, is the latest star for his sire, Giant’s Causeway. Already a G1 winner after winning last year’s Clark Hcp (on disqualification of original winner), Giant Oak is the 19th G1 winner sired by Giant’s Causeway. What’s truly remarkable about this, is that 12 of them are out of mares by Mr Prospector, or his sons and grandsons. That means over 60 percent of Giant’s Causeway’s top horses are out of Mr Prospector line mares!

Whilst Giant’s Causeway has been champion sire in the US twice (on the Blood-Horse’s general list at any rate), his overall percentages have suffered somewhat as a result of covering large books of mares. His detractors point out that Giant’s Causeway has benefitted from large books of quality mares, a fact which is undoubtedly true. Interestingly, Giant’s Causeway is only 25th on the 2011 leading stallions by AEI in the US, a list which is led by A P Indy.

However, it is worth noting that Giant’s Causeway is siring 10% stakes winners to foals, which in these days of huge books of mares is widely considered outstanding. And it is also worth noting that Giant’s Causeway’s top horses are competing at the highest level throughout the world. Whilst his stint in Australia was not considered successful, Giant’s Causeway still managed to leave behind G1 winners JUste a Momente and Our Giant.

Clearly, Giant’s Causeway’s stats have not been helped by his large books of mates, but he remains one of the world’s top sires, who consistently produces top-class international G1 winners.

Huge SAF contingent entered for World Cup
There are no fewer than 15 South African bred horses entered for the 2011 Dubai World Cup, which will be run on Saturday 26th March. South African gallopers entered for the $10 million spectacular include recent G3 Al Maktoum Challenge (Round 2) winner Bold Silvano and his stable companion River Jetez, who looked desperately unlucky when making her Dubai debut recently. Another interesting name in the World Cup entries is last season’s Champion Cup winner Orbison, who has yet to make his Dubai debut, whilst last year’s SAF Horse of the Year Irish Flame is another who is entered.

Mike de Kock has also nominated last year’s Equus Champion 2yo filly Mahbooba (Galileo), and the 2010 UAE Derby winner Musir (Redoute’s Choice).  The latter is likely to make his much anticipated return to the racetrack on Thursday evening, in a 1600m Listed race at Meydan.

It will be interesting to see what the riding arrangements for the de Kock stable are come World Cup night, as both Bold Silvano and Musir, in particular, look to be huge runners in the World Cup.

Other horses of interest nominated to the World Cup include the 2010 Belmont Stakes winner Drosselmeyer (Distorted Humor), recent G1Donn Handicap victor Giant Oak, dual Champion Stakes winner Twice Over (Observatory) and last year’s Irish Derby winner Cape Blanco (Galileo). Many of the horses nominated for the World Cup have been cross entered in both the Dubai Sheema Classic and Dubai Duty Free, so it remains to be seen which horses run where.


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