Tuesday evening’s Equus Awards at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg capped another memorable season for Gaynor Rupert and her Drakenstein team with four associated awards, including an Outstanding Breeder trophy that sums up their enormous contribution to the sport in this country.
Speaking to the Sporting Post after an outstanding evening of accolades, Mrs Rupert said that the Outstanding Breeder trophy meant a lot to her and the team at the magnificent farm
“Well done to all the winners and it is truly wonderful to feel a sense of togetherness as the industry gathers to acknowledge all the star achievers. We are honoured to receive the acknowledgement of Outstanding Breeder as we cannot compete with the big farms in terms of pure numbers. But the hard work and commitment to quality pays dividends and we are particularly proud of last season’s five Gr1 winners which we bred,” she said.
And their Equus Awards, which included Champion 2yo filly for Gabor, Champion older filly / mare for last term’s SA Horse Of The Year Oh Susanna, and Champion Sprinter for Kasimir, followed just under a week after the champion breeders celebrated in similar fashion at the Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town where the Cape Racing and Breeding Awards were held.
There Drakenstein Stud was named the Outstanding Breeder of the Year with their Kingsbarns filly Gabor again being crowned Champion Two Year Old Filly (breeding),the uber consistent Kasimir collecting the Champion Sprinter trophy (breeding and racing) and Clouds Unfold named as the Champion Three Year Old Filly (racing).
Mrs Rupert’s evolution from a horse-lover to an owner and breeder of champions under the blue and white Drakenstein flag in just over three decades is a remarkable tale of passion and perseverance,
The name L’Ormarins derives from the village of Lourmarin in Provence, France, which was the home of Jean Roi, who emigrated to the Drakenstein Valley in 1688 and was among a group of French Huguenots who received land grants from the Dutch East India Company. Roi named his land after his hometown and planted grape vines in 1694.
After centuries of winemaking on the land, the estate was purchased by the Rupert family in 1969.
The rest is history in the making!
Showcasing The Sires
Drakenstein Stud Farm comprises 130 hectares of land situated on the lower slopes of the L’Ormarins Wine Estate and the gently falling Cape winter rain failed to dampen the spirits of a large crowd of racing personalities and breeders who turned out in force to view some of our best sires and sire prospects at a Stallion day, held last Wednesday.
Sarah Whitelaw reports that Drakenstein’s latest acquisition, 2018 Gr1 Tattersalls Gold Cup winner Lancaster Bomber made a positive impression, and the son of outstanding stallion War Front is set to cover a full book of high quality mares in his first season in South Africa this year.
Lancaster Bomber, a half-brother to triple Gr1 winner and Gr1 sire Excelebration, shares his sire War Front with 2019 Gr1 winners War Of Will (Preakness Stakes) and Omaha Beach (Arkansas Derby) as well as with proven Gr1 sires Declaration Of War and The Factor. The striking looking bay met and beat some of the best horses of his generation, with Lancaster Bomber accounting for outstanding performers like Gr1 winners Blue Point, Churchill, Defoe, Ribchester, Roly Poly (also by War Front), and Thunder Snow during his campaign which netted him in excess of £1 000 000.
Four time Gr1 winner and triple Equus Champion, What A Winter is another who has a full book for 2019. The outstanding son of Western Winter had a superb season in 2018-2019, with his season flagbearers including Gr1 Bidvest Majorca Stakes winner Clouds Unfold (a four time graded stakes winner), and high-class two-year-olds Armando (Gr3 Cape Of Good Hope Nursery, Somerset 1200) and Snow Report (Langerman).
What A Winter has produced Cape Of Good Hope Nursery winners in each of his first three crops to race.
Horse Of The Year, and four time Gr1 winner, Futura looked superb and the son of outstanding sire Dynasty is set to be represented by his first two-year-olds this season, while Duke Of Marmalade, whose impressive first South African crop has already yielded six individual stakes winners, was another who looked in fine fettle.
Drakenstein’s champion sire Trippi was both sire and broodmare sire of a Gr1 winner in South Africa last season, and the sire of 75 stakes winners continues to make his mark both as a producer of stakes winners, broodmare sire, and a sire of very commercially attractive yearlings.
Trippi’s Gr2 Selangor Cup winning son Gold Standard, whose first foal arrived to impressive reviews, is another who has let down into a very handsome stallion, and he has a real look of Trippi about him.
Former Leading Sire on All Weather in North America, and producer of nearly 40 black type performers, the strapping Philanthropist looked in superb form on Wednesday, and the son of outstanding broodmare sire Kris S is also now showing signs of becoming a successful broodmare sire.
The future looks bright!
Pics – Chase Liebenberg Photography