Sad Farewell To Top Broodmare

She was brought to SA by Fieldspring Racing

South African horseracing awoke to the sad news today that at the ripe old age of 27, Mystic Spring, the matriarch of Cheveley, quietly said goodbye.

Vaughan Kosyter said that it was a sad day on Cheveley as they mourned her passing and try to remind themselves of all the joy and excitement that she has provided them.

As a prolific breeder of high class racehorses her legacy lives on through her daughters and granddaughters.

Vaughan Koster and Mystic Spring

She produced 7 stakes winners, including 2 Champions in Rabiya and Bela- Bela.

She was crowned with the highest honour as Broodmare of the Year in 2016/17 and was awarded Exceptional Broodmare Achievement in 2016. Arguably the most sought after family in SA in the modern era has a wonderful future as her daughters have and granddaughters start producing champions.

‘Thank you to John Newsome and John Freeman for letting us be part of her journey. We are truly blessed that you crossed our path and are indebted to you for life. Now go and join your ancestors on greener pastures.Rest in Peace our beloved Mystic Spring.’

The outstanding broodmare’s name has cropped up in the pedigrees of a number of notable winners this summer season. The grey daughter of Royal Academy has featured as dam, granddam and great granddam of a number of winners this season.

Mystic Spring’s granddaughter Ciao Bela (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

Both Gr2 Western Fillies Championship winner Ciao Bella (Gimmethegreenlight) and Gr3 Drakenstein Stud Cape Summer Stayers hero Navy Strength (Dynasty) are descended in female line from Mystic Spring, with Mystic Spring having produced both Ciao Bella’s champion dam Bela-Bela (like Navy Strength, sired by Dynasty) and Navy Strength’s Gr3 Fillies Nursery winning dam Spring Lilac (Joshua Dancer).

The latter has proved a top-class producer in her own right – Navy Strength being one of four stakes winners. Other stakes winners produced by the daughter of Mystic Spring include Gr1 Cape Fillies Guineas/Gr1 Majorca Stakes winner Snowdance (Captain Al), and her stakes winning own sisters Juniper Spring (East Cape Breeders Stakes), and Victorian Secret (Laisserfaire Stakes, Lady’s Pendant).

Victorian Secret’s two-year-old daughter Golden Sickle (Vercingetorix) caught the eye earlier this season when scoring on debut at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth.

Golden Sickle, a R700 000 yearling buy, is not the only eye catching debut winner to descend from Mystic Spring in recent times.

Dumbledore (William Longsword), whose granddam is Mystic Spring, made the ideal start to his racing career when the two-year-old won over 1000m on debut.

Dumbledore is out of another top-class racemare and daughter of Mystic Spring in the form of Secret Of Victoria (Goldkeeper). Closely inbred to the wonderful broodmare Crimson Saint (Crimson Satan), Secret Of Victoria won four black type races,  including both the Gr2 Sceptre Stakes and Gr2 Southern Cross and proved, if anything, even better at stud. She has produced a pair of Gr1 winning Captain Al sired full-sisters in the form of champion All Is Secret and fellow Gr1 Allan Robertson Championship winner The Secret Is Out as well as their Lady’s Pendant winning own sister Canukeepitsecret.

Secret Of Victoria is also dam of Naval Secret (also by Captain Al) who recently romped home over 1200 metres.

How it all began…

Michael Roberts, who had a race day in his honour at Hollywoodbets Scottsville on Sunday was not only a fine ambassador for South African racing but his success inadvertently had a positive impact on South African bloodstock.

David Thiselton writes that Roberts was approached one day in the late 1990’s by Karen Newsome of Fieldspring Racing and asked about a filly they owned.

Karen’s husband John was the founder of Fieldspring Racing and South African racing will forever be indebted to this couple for their 1997 decision to create a racing base in South Africa.

This included John’s decision to never sell Fieldspring’s greatest horse Dynasty for export. .

The Newsome’s young filly Mystic Spring had not been doing too well racing in England and Karen asked Roberts whether he believed it would be worthwhile sending her to South Africa. She was out of a full-sister to Mystiko, who had given Roberts his first British classic success in the 1991 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

Roberts recalled: “I told her I didn’t see why not as Mystiko had been a good fast ground horse and that was what you needed in South Africa.”

Mystic Spring was shipped over and put in training with Dean Kannemeyer but didn’t show much and was soon retired to stud.

A couple of months later John Newsome made an arrangement with the great horseman and thoroughbred breeder Wilfred Koster to use the latter’s Cheveley Stud farm as the base for Fieldspring’s breeding operation.

This included bringing about ten imported mares in over a period of a number of years.

Vaughan Köster, who took over Cheveley Stud when his father passed away in 2008, remembered the arrival of a small and slight Mystic Spring at the farm.

He said at the time: “She was very sour and would chase you out of her stable. Perhaps it had something to do with all the travel and quarantine she had endured, but after being put out to pasture her attitude changed massively. She became a happy mare, although to this day she is still very protective over her offspring and with foal at foot you would not enter her stable without caution.”

Mystic Spring’s first foal was by Jallad.

Vaughan recounted: “It was a complete disaster. He was gangly, had an ugly head and was bad-legged with particularly bad hind legs. My father was given two options by the vets, either put him down or ‘throw him to the mountains.’”

The great horseman took the latter option. “Throw to the mountains” is a saying meaning the foal should not be fed too much, thus preventing too much weight on the legs.

Mystic Spring with her foal born in 2020

A year later the sales inspectors were ‘generous’ in giving the colt three out of ten as he still had atrocious legs.

“But he was very athletic,” recalled Vaughan.

The colt was put in training with the Kannemeyers.

Vaughan recalled: “Peter Kannemeyer phoned about three months later and told us, ‘This horse can run’. My father laughed and said impossible!

The grey colt called Rabiya went on to win the Gr1 Cape Guineas, the Gr1 Daily News 2000 and the Gr2 Cape Derby running in Fieldspring Racing’s maroon silks with the grey chevron.

However, his bad legs caught up with him in the most tragic of circumstances as he broke down in the 2005 Vodacom Durban July after starting favourite and had to be euthanised.

Nevertheless, Wilfred’s decision to work through a problem had ensured the foundation of a South African thoroughbred dynasty.

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