Here And Elsewhere

Blue-bloods fight out the finish to G1 race

The first three home in Saturday’s G1 Racing Post Trophy represent some of the finest, and most commercial, bloodlines current available.
Camelot, winner of the race and a 525,000 yearling buy, is a son of Montjeu and the Kingmambo mare, Tarfah. His sire, former champion sire in France in 2005, has been represented by no fewer than eight individual G1 winners (including Ivestec Derby winner Pour Moi) in the Northern Hemisphere in 2011. Camelot’s dam, Tarfah, is not only by a world leading sire, but she was a high-class racemare herself. Her five wins include a score in the G3 Dahlia Stakes.
Camelot is now a warm favourite to give his sire a remarkable fourth Investec Derby winner (two of which are previous winners of the Racing Post Trophy). The last stallion to throw four English Derby winners was Blandford, sire of Derby winners Trigo, Blenheim, Windsor Lad and unbeaten Triple Crown winner Bahram.
Runner up at Doncaster on Saturday was Zip Top, who is now likely to go to Godolphin. Zip Top is a son of dual US champion sire Smart Strike, sire of such champions as Curlin, English Channel and Lookin At Lucky. Smart Strike is also sire of leading Breeders Cup contender My Miss Aurelia, winner of the G1 Frizette Stakes.
Zip Top is out of Zofzig, a Danzig half-sister to G1 winner Zaftig. Granddam, Zoftig, won the G1 Selene Stakes in Canada.
The third placed finisher, Fencing, is a son of Dubai World Cup winner Street Cry. Street Cry is a world leading sire having produced such champions as Zenyatta, Street Sense and Melbourne Cup winner Shocking. He is also the sire of this year’s G1 winning 2yo filly, Lyric of Light. Fencing is out of Latice (Inchinor), winner of the Prix de Diane (French Oaks). Latice, in turn, is a half-sister to French Derby winner and promising young sire Lawman (Invincible Spirit).


The monkeys will climb over the fence

This weekend’s racing reminded me of a statement made by a former Cape steward. He said, when addressing the problem of dwindling crowds, ”The monkeys will always climb over the fences (in order to attend the races).”
Sadly, with all the ongoing problems and declining interest in the sport of kings, this attitude of contempt for punters is very much alive and kicking.
This was bought home to me when watching the replays on Tellytrack (a system intended to provide South African punters with relevant information).
After unveiling a first-timer to win at Fairview on Sunday, the winning trainer was quick to gloat about having to BS people regarding the horse’s chances. First of all, this is a slap in the face for all punters who are trying to find winners. Secondly, the trainer seems unaware of the fact that the people he is blithely misleading are actually subsidising his living.
It’s also all extremely poor that Tellytrack should even show an interview like this. Tellytrack, who have shown themselves to be more than capable of editing interviews, should refuse to grant publicity to people (be it trainers or owners) who brag about sticking punters (ie Tellytrack’s customers and the main contributors to racing’s dwindling coffers) in the street.


Speed Sire Takes Off

Avontuur’s resident sire, Var, enjoyed a great day at Durbanville on Saturday. The stallion was represented by four winners on the day, highlighted by the impressive debut winner, Miss October.
Var himself has had to overcome a number of critics. They said the stallion was capable of only throwing precocious babies who didn’t train on and were pure sprinters. Var was also criticised when his second crop failed to reach the heights achieved by his first – which included three individual G1 winners.
Over time, Var is gradually proving his critics wrong. His nine stakes winners to date include the G2 Gold Circle Oaks (2400m) winner Princess of Light and Variety Club, winner of the G3 Langerman Handicap over 1500 metres. It is also interesting to note, that six of Var’s nine top horses produced their best performances at three years and up.
Var shows tremendous similarities to his sire, Forest Wildcat, one of Storm Cat’s more successful sire sons. Forest Wildcat, who began his stud career as a real talking horse despite retiring as a G3 winner (at five!), sired 66 stakes winners from his 12 crops (or sired 8% stakes winners to foals). And while Forest Wildcat was represented by 21 stakes winning juveniles, the majority of his stakes winners, ie 45, won features at 3 years old and upwards.
Forest Wildcat also endured a roller coaster ride at stud, with his stud fee fluctuating from $10,000 to $60,000. When he died in 2008, Forest Wildcat was standing for a fee of $35,000.
Forest Wildcat’s first of 2yos (much like Var’s who first crop of babies really set the tracks alight) attracted a lot of attention back in 2000. At two 2yo sales that year, a Forest Wildcat colt and filly sold for $600,000 and $550,000 – despite their sire being at the time an unproven stallion.
Forest Wildcat himself also sired the G1 winning sprinter, Wildcat Heir, who sired a record 39 juvenile winners in one crop a few seasons back.
Var himself will be represented some choicely bred 2yos this season, and has youngsters out of such stakes winnings mares as Aluvial, Royal Peal, Princess Faberge (dam of G3 Algoa Cup winner Forest of Dean) and Evening Attire.


Beat the odds…

When Black Caviar won her fifteenth straight race on Saturday, the superstar was sent off at the cramped odds of 33-1 on!


Great spell for Silvano

Leading South African sire, Silvano, has certainly enjoyed good spell last week. Not only did his son, Forest of Dean, won the Eastern Cape’s biggest race, but one of his yearling sons topped the second day of the BBAG October Mixed Sale.
The Silvano colt, who sold for 32,000 euros at the October Sale, is out of the In The Wings mare,  Maramara. He was purchased by trainer Enrico Brogini.
When Forest of Dean won Sunday’s G3 Algoa Cup, he became the tenth graded stakes winner, and nineteenth local stakes winner produced by Silvano, who is one of the country’s most consistent sire of classic horses.

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