Peter de Beyer’s boutique breeding operation Black Swan Stud is situated in the calcium rich climes of Robertson in the Western Cape. It’s on magnificent land that produces superior bone strength in our thoroughbreds, and astute matings over the years have combined to make it a successful quarter century for the man who started with a solitary mare in 1998.
Black Swan Stud sells Helen’s Ideal (#36) as agent on Thursday’s CTS De Grendel Wines Mare & Mixed Sale.
She’s a three-parts sister to Gr3 Track And Ball Oaks winner Zante and won six races from 1200m-1600m, including the Sweet Chestnut Stakes and Stormsvlei Mile.
Peter de Beyer explains that as his numbers grew, he bought a piece of land in the Robertson district in 2007, developed the necessary infrastructure and moved the mares there in 2010. The 2011 crop were the first to be born at Black Swan Stud.
“We aim to maintain about 20 mares, although I also have had a couple in partnership, most notably Princess Victoria at Maine Chance and Siren’s Call at Drakenstein,” he tells the Sporting Post.
Their land covers 12 hectares of grassed, irrigated paddocks and a similar number of dry paddocks. They also have a few hectares of lucerne, and another few hectares of Shiraz vineyards.
“Siren’s Call Shiraz has been produced on my behalf by Arendsig Winery since 2014!” enthused Peter.
Most of his mares were originally bought as yearlings to race, although he has bought a few mares over time and they now have some second and third generation mares.
“Jane Grey was our first stud manager and after her retirement in 2017, Walter Cowe took over,” says Peter.
On to his single lot on Thursday, Peter says that Helen’s Ideal was the first foal of Tequila Blush, a two-time winning filly that he raced.
“The Ideal World/Fort Wood cross has been proven to be very successful and she is another example of that. Paul Barrett bought a half share when she was a weanling and we raced her in partnership. She won two legs of the Cape Winter series, both Listed races. She has won 6 races in all, and is a nice sized mare, with good bone and correct conformation. Paul is keen on racing, and not breeding, and so she is being sold to dissolve the partnership.
“Helen’s Ideal has a strong pedigree to compliment her race record and conformation, and a notable close relative is Oaks winner Zante.
“Her dam, Tequila Blush, is a young mare, and her second foal unfortunately died as a yearling. Her third foal, Helen’s Blush, by Marchfield, has already won 2 from just 8 starts and looks to be very promising. The next foal, another filly by Marchfield, is in training. Tequila Blush’s yearling filly by Duke Of Marmalade recently sold for R175 000 at the 2021 CTS Premier Yearling Sale.”
Peter is looking forward to the sale, although he is realistic that recent sales have been tough for vendors. He latches on to the positive that mare numbers are now down to very low levels, and if racing recovers, there could be a shortage of stock in two or three years.
He understands that these are difficult times for the racing and breeding industry, as we all await the restructuring of the ex-Phumelela racing assets under the new owners, 4Racing.
“Racehorses are a luxury product, and a weak economy, exacerbated by the pandemic has taken its toll. It is essential that the racing industry improves its product in terms of the racing and betting experience, revitalises its marketing, and rebuilds the fan base.
“Tote turnover and sponsorships are the engines for prizemoney, and stakes have lagged the costs of ownership badly over the past two decades. The breeding industry needs the racing side to recover, and also desperately needs acceptable export protocols to be re-established,” he says.
Initiatives such as the recent Hong Kong Funding Boost are very welcome and make a big difference. Peter feels it is essential that we improve the quality of information to the betting public and that we restore trust in the integrity of the racing product.
“The examples of the successful racing jurisdictions such as Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia need to be understood and emulated by our operators and regulators.”
While he hopes for improvement in the racing industry, Peter is steadfast in his goal as a breeder to produce superior racehorses.
“This requires the right quality of mares, and we have been upgrading our mare band consistently over the years with careful selection of yearling with good pedigrees and conformation to race, and to then go to stud.”
Some successful examples include stakes race winners Field Flower, Siren’s Call, Princess Victoria, Silvan Star, Omaticaya, Elusive Heart and Golden Dawn.
Their stakes winner producing mare honour roll includes Sylvie, Betty Burke, Tequila Blush, Forest Vixen and Meaningful.
“We have also sold some of our top race fillies from time to time to assist in the viability of the farm. Here examples include Lady Windermere, Final Judgement and Freedom Charter.
“We have held shares in a number of successful stallions such as National Assembly, Dynasty, Western Winter, Master Of My Fate, Vercingetorix, Querari, etc and have supported many others.
“I was instrumental in bringing Elusive Fort back to SA and syndicating him. He is now resident at Black Swan Stud and has proven to be enormously successful. He produces both top class fillies and colts. Examples of filles include Siren’s Call, Lauderdale, Safe Harbour, Freedom Charter, Elusive Heart and Secret Potion, while the boys number SA Champions Season big names Catch Twentytwo and Kommetdieding, SA Derby winner Out Of Your League, Ernie and Sunday’s WSB 1900 placer, Shavout.
Peter explains that a ‘black swan event’ is a statistically rare and significant occurrence. Hence the name of the stud, as he and his team strive to produce those rare champions.
Some proud produce of the farm include the likes of Siren’s Call, KZN sire Last Winter, Sarah, Forest Fox, Freedom Charter, Ernie, Helen’s Ideal and Desert Wisdom. Not bad going!
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