Much like Europe and Australia, the South African stallion ranks are dominated by Northern Dancer line descendants. This can be clearly seen in the fact that in the last ten years, a Northern Dancer male line descendant has topped the general sires log in eight of the last 10 years.
Of the 33 Gr1 races run in South Africa during 2013-2014, a stunning 24 were won by horses who trace back directly to the 1964 Kentucky Derby winner and arguably the most influential thoroughbred of the 20th century. This means, during the last South African racing season, nearly 75% of South Africa’s top races were won by horses tracing back to one stallion – Northern Dancer.
Among the races won by descendants of this remarkable sire in 2013-2014 include the Vodacom Durban July, Investec Cape Derby, Gold Cup, Klawervlei Majorca Stakes, Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes, Tsogo Sun Medallion and Cape Flying Championship. Indeed, recently crowned Horse Of The Year, Legislate, is inbred to Northern Dancer, through two of his most important male line descendants – Sadler’s Wells and Danehill.
Of the numerous branches of the Northern Dancer male line currently flourishing in South Africa, the Sadler’s Wells male line supplied 9 top flight winners during the past season. Sadler’s Well is also the ancestor of 2013-2014’s leading first crop sire, Lateral, whose first crop of runners include the Gr1 Golden Slipper winner Bilateral.
The Storm Cat male line has enjoyed plenty of success in South Africa, and last season was another successful one for descendants of the former Champion US sire. Storm Cat’s descendants picked up 6 major Grade 1 contests in this country during 2013-2014, and these runners included Triple Crown winner Louis The King and champion sprinter Via Africa. Storm Cat is also the ancestor of one of South Africa’s greatest exports –Variety Club. The son of Var made history when becoming the first foreign horse to win the Gr1 Champions Mile in Hong Kong in 2014. Remarkably, three male line descendants of Storm Cat (Black Minnaloushe, Var and Tiger Ridge) finished in the top ten on the general sires log in 2013-2014.
The remarkable local sire, Jet Master, by Northern Dancer’s son, Rakeen, had offspring win 6 Grade 1 races in South Africa last season while another locally bred Northern Dancer descendant, Dynasty, had offspring, including champions Beach Beauty and Legislate, win 7 top-flight races in 2013-2014.
As a result of this success, descendants of the mighty Canadian superstar dominated the South African sires log. Four of the top five stallions, by prize money, for 2013-2014 are Northern Dancer line horses.
But what of other sire lines to enjoy success in South Africa during the 2013-2014 racing season?
Last season, the Mr Prospector male line was responsible for Capetown Noir (L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate), Copper Parade (Computaform Sprint), Elusive Gold (Grand Parade Cape Guineas), Harry’s Son (Premier’s Champion Stakes), Same Jurisdiction (Thekwini Stakes) and Afrikaburn (Golden Horseshoe). In total, descendants of the former Claiborne based sire won six Grade One contests in South Africa last season.
Interestingly, much of Mr Prospector’s current success has come through Gone West, whose sons in South Africa include the now deceased Western Winter, sire of Capetown Noir, and Sail From Seattle (sire of Elusive Gold).
However, the Forty Niner male line has also enjoyed plenty of success in this country. The former Champion 2YO is the grandsire of leading sire,Trippi, whose descendants last season include the above mentioned Afrikaburn and top filly Hammie’s Hooker, while Forty Niner is also the sire of Rich Man’s Gold, broodmare sire of Gr1 winning filly Athina (SA Fillies Classic) as well as the SASCOC Triple Crown winner, Louis The King.
Another champion 2yo sire son of Mr P, Machiavellian, has also been represented by a top-class sire son locally in the form of the sadly now deceased, Kahal. The latter had a quiet season in 2013-2014, by his high standards, although he did enough to end the racing season in ninth spot on the general sires list.
Mr Prospector’s son, Kingmambo, is also the sire of promising first crop sires, Mambo In Seattle, sire of Grade 1 winner Same Jurisdiction in his first crop, and Ideal World, as well as Ashaawes, already the sire of Grade 1 performers Sanshaawes and Priceless Jewel.
The once powerful Bold Ruler male line has all but fallen away in world breeding, with A P Indy and his heirs the main conduit to this once dominant male line. In South Africa last season just one Grade 1 race was landed by Bold Ruler line descendants – Judpot filly, Along Came Polly, having captured the Empress Club Stakes.
Hail To Reason, whose sons Roberto and Halo have played such pivotal roles in world racing and breeding, is the ancestor of former champion sire, Al Mufti. The latter is not only the sire of Captain Al, champion sire of 2yos and sire of 2013-2014 Grade 1 winners Carry On Alice (SA Nursery) and Hill Fifty Four (J&B Met), but is also the broodmare sire of this season’s triple Grade 1 winner, and Equus Champion, Yorker.
Another descendant of Turn-To (sire of Hail To Reason) to enjoy Gr1 success last season is former Vodacom Durban July winner, Greys Inn. The son of Zabeel, sire of Saturday’s smart debut winner Karoo Breeze, was represented in 2013-2014 by Gr1 Rising Sun Challenge winner, King Of Pain, as well as talented and unbeaten colt, Forries Waltz, and Greys Inn appears a sire on the up.
Looking at the results above, however, and with such notable descendants as Dynasty, Silvano, and Var (to name just three) to represent it, it is hard to believe that 2014-2015 will not be a case of status quo for the mighty Northern Dancer tribe.