No SA Champion Sire Has Ever Won The July

It's quite remarkable!

For all its historical importance, it is somewhat remarkable that not a single South African champion sire managed to win the country’s most iconic race, the Hollywoodbets Gr1 Durban July.

In recent times, 2003 hero Dynasty probably came closest, considering the weather gods cruelly robbed him of that coveted title in 2014 when the final deciding meeting of the season, Hollywoodbets Greyville’s Gold Cup day, was postponed by a week due to a waterlogged track, thus falling into the new racing season.

Calm before the 2003 storm – Dynasty canters down (Pic – Supplied)

Involved in a tight race with Captain Al at the time, history will show that the victory of Futura in the Gr1 Champions Cup would have assured him of the title.

In contrast, a number of placed July horses have gone on to huge success at stud, notably Model Man, Al Mufti and Rakeen.

Model Man, who had to bow to Bush Telegraph (the sire of London News) in the 1987 July, enjoyed a fruitful stallion career while standing at the Cohens’ Odessa Stud, siring the likes of Gr1 winners Special Preview, Amberpondo and Glamour Boy.

Model Man

The champion Model Man in action (Pic – Supplied)

A son of the grand stallion Elliodor, he also made a name for himself as a broodmare sire, his daughters producing close on 50 stakes winners, headed by the Gr1 winners Pointing North, National Spirit and Along Came Polly.

Sadly, as a sire of sires, Model Man made little impact and it is only Special Preview who sometimes pops up in female lines. The champion juvenile of his generation, he features as the damsire of Pomodoro’s champion daughter Return Flight.

The finish of the 1991 July was a rarity in itself in that a trio of outstanding imports filled the first three places. Al Mufti and Rakeen looked to have the race to themselves, but were thwarted by Flaming Rock, who powered up the standside to snatch victory on the line.

History will show that all three eventually joined the country’s stallion ranks but fate decreed that Flaming Rock’s sire innings would be all too brief.

The Irish import left just three crops before his untimely death at age nine and one can only guess at what impact he could have made, given that he sired Gr1 Paddock Stakes winner Savannah Queen, besides featuring as the broodmare sire of Horse of the Year Irish Flame, a son of Dynasty.

Al Mufti and Rakeen became powerhouse sires, not surprising, since both boasted impeccable bloodlines and were sired by breed-shaping stallions.

The former was by Roberto, out of the sire producing blue hen Lassie Dear. He took up residence at the Parkers’ Ascot Stud in the Eastern Cape and was the leading first crop sire of 1993.

In a long and honourable innings, he sired such standouts as Captain Al, The Sheik, Victory Moon, Al Nitak, Alastor and Cataloochee. The country’s champion sire in 1999, he has established a successful male line via the Cape Guineas winner Captain  Al, who emulated his sire when he claimed the title in 2014.

When it came to siring precocious two-year-olds, Captain Al had no peer and he led the juvenile sires list for eight straight years. Remarkably, he seems to have passed on that trait to his Gr1 winning son One World, who has made a sensational start to his stallion career with 25 individual winners to his name at the time of writing.

The late Peter Kannemeyer proudly leads Dynasty in

The late Peter Kannemeyer proudly leads Dynasty in (Pic – Supplied)

With a month to go to the end of the racing season, what odds the Drakenstein-based freshman will better his own sire’s record of 30 individual winners set in 2008/9.

July third Rakeen started his stallion career in KwaZulu-Natal, boasting impeccable credentials. A Gr2 winning son of the mighty Northern Dancer, he was after all a half-brother to the successful sires Singspiel and Rahy, whilst his dam was the Canadian Horse of the Year Glorious Song, who counted amongst her siblings the champion Devil’s Bag and outstanding sire Saint Ballado.

Rakeen made a huge impression with his first local crops, to the extent that he was sold to America after just a couple of seasons at the now defunct Aldora Stud. He would spend three years in the States until his return to South Africa and the stallion barn at Mike Rattray’s Lammerskraal Stud.

His impressive tally of stakes winning progeny included joint Horse of the Year and champion sprinter Jet Master, the dual Gr1 winners Young Rake and North By Northwest, all sired during his KZN stint, and the Gr1 winners Angelina and Malteme.

It is his exceptional son Jet Master, who has single-handedly continued his sire’s legacy. Retired to stud in 2001, the imposing bay confirmed the promise of his remarkable racing prowess and proved a roaring success at stud.

He was both the leading freshman sire and champion juvenile sire with his first crop, which ultimately yielded no less than 17 stakes winners, amongst which multiple Horse of the Year Pocket Power and Gr1 winners Floatyourboat, Stratos and Soft Landing.

Remarkably, he first reached the top of the South African General sires list with just three crops on the track and would garner that title a total of seven times. Jet Master also left an indelible footprint as a broodmare sire, leading the log four straight years.

Considered by many as the most successful post-war stallion bred in South Africa, his death at the comparatively early age of 17 came as a massive shock to the breeding and racing industry.

A number of well-performed sons followed their sire into the breeding shed, the most successful of which, Master Of My Fate and 2012 July winner Pomodoro, both siring more than one Gr1 winner. As recently as this season, they were joined by lesser known son Lance, whose juvenile daughter Quid Pro Quo claimed the Gr1 Allan Robertson Championship.

The history books show that Al Mufti and Rakeen have both left their stamp on the Hollywoodbets Durban July.

Al Mufti features as the broodmare sire of 2010 hero Bold Silvano, while Rakeen’s son Jet Master went one better as the sire of a brace of aforementioned Pomodoro and the legendary Pocket Power.

The legacy of both Al Mufti and Rakeen continue to resonate in this year’s renewal, with Jet Master being the damsire of Gr1 Met winner Double Superlative, while Al Mufti sired the dam of champion stayer Future Pearl, who enters the big race off a smooth victory in the Gr3 Tabgold Derby.

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