Here And Elsewhere – 6 Jan

Sarah Whitelaw's take on the thoroughbred world

Canter Down?
Whilst watching Sunday’s replays of the racing action, I was struck by the fact that only the Turffontein feature race was given a canter down. Turffontein’s replays were also interspersed by a series of rather annoying pictures of jockeys and horses (none of which seemed necessary). I find it strange that a Gr3 feature race (Lebelo Sprint) is given preferential treatment over a Gr2 race (Sceptre Stakes). Consistent coverage of feature races is called for, and either all canter downs for feature races should be shown, or none.

Lundy’s Liability
A stallion who is getting winners from a distinctly limited number of runners is Lundy’s Liability (Candy Stripes). Nine of his 15 runners to date have either won or been placed, which considering the fact that they are young 3yos is a promising start for a horse who won graded races from 2 to 4. Lundy’s Liability’s best horse to date is Not Liable, who won his second race on Saturday, and clearly appreciates the step up in distance. Not Liable is rated highly by connections, and looks like a horse worth following for the future.

It is also worth noting that Lundy’s Liability has not had the best opportunities at stud, so far, and, judging from his early runners, deserves more respect.

Lundy’s Liability himself was a tremendous racehorse, winning the Gr2 UAE Derby, San Antonio Handicap and Goodwood Breeders Cup Handicap. His sire, Candy Stripes, has been in the news as the broodmare sire of the magnificent young stallion Candy Ride – whose sons Twirling Candy (Gr1 Malibu Stakes) and Sidney’s Candy (Gr3Sir Beaufort Stakes) have been dominated Santa Anita.

Leading sire wobbles
The late sire, Anabaa, has compiled a great record with his runners in Australasia, and the son of Danzig was represented by a pair of group winners “Down Under” recently, when his daughters Anabandana and Dance On Waves won the Gp3 Eclipse Stakes and Gp2 Villiers Stakes respectively. It is hard to believe that without luck and compassion they and the likes of Goldikova, Anabaa Blue and Precision would never had existed!

Her sire, Anabaa, was diagnosed as a wobbler (a horse who suffers from a spinal cord disorder for which there is no cure) as a two-year-old. Whilst his owner briefly considered euthanizing the colt, Anabaa’s trainer Criquette Head- Maarek refused, and the colt was spared. It was later found that he had pinched a nerve.
Head-Maarek eventually turned the colt into the best sprinter of his generation, who won both the Gp1 Prix Maurice de Gheest and July Cup. Remarkably, Anabaa’s July Cup triumph came at the expense of Danehill and Pivotal. All three colts would become highly successful stallions. Anabaa, who died in 2009, sired more than 60 stakes winners at stud, including Goldikova – the only horse to win three Breeders Cup races. He sired the earners of over $46 million!

Speedy filly another star 3yo for former champion
Covenant, winner of Sunday’s Gr2 Sceptre Stakes, is yet another high-class performer to emerge from champion sire Western Winter’s current crop of 3yos. To date Western Winter’s 3yos include six stakes horses, including top colts Solo Traveller and What A Winter. Western Winter is also responsible for the smart Gauteng 3yo Snowdon, who won his first three starts before running 5th in the Gr2 Dingaans. He is clearly also a colt with considerable promise and could add further gloss to his sire’s reputation.

Western Winter, who is currently third on the general sires list, is well clear on the leading sires of 3yos list. His 3yos have earned over R2.9 million to date, with the promise of plenty more to come. Whilst Western Winter, champion sire three times already, has established himself as a sire capable of siring champion colts and fillies, it’s interesting to note that four of his stakes performing 3yos are colts.

Local double?
The general sires list makes for interesting reading. Whilst it is too early in the season to make a call on who the leading sire in South Africa is, currently the list is headed by South African bred Captain Al. Should Captain Al manage to maintain his advantage through the season, it would mean the SA general sires list has been headed by a local bred horse for the past five years! Jet Master has headed the log on the last past four seasons. It would also mean the list has been dominated by past Cape Guineas winners, with both Captain Al and Jet Master have triumphed in that Cape classic.

What is also striking about the top ten on the general sires list is that it is dominated by descendants of two sire lines. Four of the top ten on the list, at the time of writing, are descendants of Mr Prospector, whilst another four are Northern Dancer line stallions. Only Al Mufti (Roberto) and his Captain Al, in the top ten, are from a different sire line. This is provides more proof, if any were needed, to how Mr Prospector and Northern Dancer line descendants dominate modern day racing and breeding.

Zim star’s yearling in Aus
Battle Maiden (Goldkeeper), the former Zimbabwean bred mare who made a name for herself in South Africa, has her third foal on offer at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale Yearling Sale in Australia. The yearling is a chestnut filly sired by former record breaker Rock of Gibraltar. She is Battle Maiden’s third foal, with her first foal being unraced.

Battle Maiden, a three parts sister to the now Hong Kong based Cerise Cherry, was the Equus Champion Older Middle Distance Female in 2003. Her biggest win came in the Gr1 Garden Province Stakes, where she defeated champion Ilha da Vitoria (Candy Stripes).

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