Smirnoff Winner’s Great Legacy

Sarah Whitelaw examines the influence of Tracy’s Element

1993 Gr1 Smirnoff Bloodline Sprint - TRACY'S ELEMENT - finish

Tracys Element wins the 1993 Gr1 Smirnoff Bloodline Sprint

The Gr1 Tsogo Sun Gold Medallion will be run at Scottsville on Saturday, 23 May 2015. This race has seen many a juvenile secure championship honours previously, although the honour roll also contains more than a few horses who did precious little after their Medallion win.

Of late, this race has been won by a number of colts who have subsequently gone on to retire to stud. Among them are the promising young sires Seventh Rock and Warm White Night, with the former having already sired another Medallion winner in the form of Guiness. Seventh Rock has the extremely promising Seventh Plain to his credit this year, and the son of Rock Of Gibraltar could well have another Gold Medallion winner in the not too distant future.

Seventh Rock’s stable companion, Warm White Night, has also made a pleasing start with his first runners in 2014-2015, and the well performed son of Western Winter currently ranks second on the South African first crop sires log. However, the Smirnoff/Medallion winner to have left arguably the greatest legacy in recent times was the wonderful racemare, Tracy’s Element.


Tracy's Element

Tracy’s Element

A true champion, Tracy’s Element always had the pedigree to be something special, and she more than lived up to her illustrious bloodlines. She was a daughter of Gr1 Breeders Cup Mile winner, Last Tycoon, Champion Sire in Australia in 1993-1994 and a hugely successful broodmare sire. At the time of writing, Last Tycoon (by far and away the best runner sired by El Gran Senor/Northern Guest’s champion full brother Try My Best) is the broodmare sire of more than 100 stakes winners including former Equus Champion, Sun Classique, (Fuji Kiseki) and multiple champion sire, King Kamehameha, (Kingmambo).

Tracy’s Element’s sire, Last Tycoon, certainly made his presence felt on South African tracks. Not only is the son of Try My Best sire of Tracy’s Element and damsire of Sun Classique, he is also responsible for champion, Tytola, Gr1 winning sprinter, Super Sheila, and Gr2 Derby hero, Double Reef.

Tracy’s Element was equally well connected on her female side. Out of the Gr3 winning Ahonoora mare, Princess Tracy, Tracy’s Element was a sibling to four stakes horses, including Gr1 Stradbroke Handicap winner, Danasinga (Danehill), and high class South African runner, Topasannah (Gr2 Woolavington Cup). Remarkably, no fewer than three of Tracy’s half brothers – Cullen, Danasinga and Towkay –sired Gr1 winners.

Her full sister, Urge To Merge, produced another high class South African galloper in the shape of Gr1 Premier’s Champion Stakes winner, Suntagonal (Octagonal). Urge To Merge is also responsible for Australian Gr1 winner, Master Of Design (Redoute’s Choice) – now a promising young sire who stands at the Swettenham Stud.

Training career

1995 Gr1 SA Fillies Sprint

Tracy’s Element wins the 1995 SA Fillies Sprint

Sent into training with Ormond Ferraris, Tracy’s Element, who was bred by the Segenhoe Stud, showed ability from the start, winning her first three starts on the trot as a two year old. Wins in the Gr1 Smirnoff Plate and Gr2 JB Mcintosh Fillies Classic ensured that Tracy would end her first campaign with acknowledgement as the best of her year, and she was duly named the ARCSA Champion Two-Year-Old Filly of 1992.

That, unlike many other juvenile stars, would not be the final award of the filly’s brilliant career. Tracy’s Element would go on to win a further six races, net another ARCSA award (Champion Older Female Sprinter in 1994), and build a reputation for herself as one of the finest sprinting fillies to race in South Africa.

Her victories included a win in the 1994 Gr1 Star Sprint (where her beaten rivals included paternal half-sister, Super Sheila, and outstanding producer, Secret Pact), and gallant scores in both the Gr1 Computaform and SA Fillies Sprints in 1995. At the end of her racing career, Tracy’s Element was returned to Australia.

Stud career

Her first foal, by leading sire Ray, was an unraced mare named Traceable. While Traceable failed to do anything on the track, she made up for this at stud, with her foals including Gr2 Silver Slipper winner and sire, Shaft (Flying Spur).

Traceable was followed by the winning Marscay gelding, Hanover, and a dual winner, Baltic Cove (by Polish Navy). Tracy’s Element’s first foal of real note was born in 2011, to the cover of top sire Red Ransom. This was the filly Kylikwong, who was placed in a number of group races, and who ran a good second in the Gr1 South Australian Oaks of 2005. Kylikwong herself has made her mark at stud, with her foals including the useful performers, Cantonese and Chateau Margaux (both by Redoute’s Choice). The latter ran a close second in the 2012 Gr3 Geelong Cup.

Kylikwong was then followed by her winning full sister, Element of Danger, and a Red Ransom colt named Red Element. A high class racehorse, Red Element won a pair of stakes races and ran third in the Gr2 Sir Byrne Hart Stakes to Gr1 winner Swiss Ace (Secret Savings).

Crowning glory

Tracy’s Element’s finest hour came in the form of her 2005 foal – a full sister to Kylikwong and Red Element. This was the magnificent Typhoon Tracy, who won no fewer than six Australian Group One races, and who was named Horse Of The Year in 2009-2010. The Red Ransom filly won her first five outings at three, culminating in a win in the Gr1 Coolmore Classic. She would go on to win five more top flight races, including the Gr1 C F Orr Stakes, and Futurity Stakes. Sadly, Typhoon Tracy died after producing just one foal – a colt by Street Cry. That colt was bought back for AUS $2.1 million at the 2014 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale.

The champion’s full sister, Tracy’s Choice (Redoute’s Choice), went on to make a winning debut at Doomben to take her dam’s score of winners to seven. Tracy’s Element’s last yearling offered at sale, a colt by More Than Ready, was knocked down for AUS 409 090 at the 2013 Inglis Easter Sale.

In 2010, Tracy’s Element was named the TBQA’s Broodmare Of The Year. She has since been retired from stud duties.


Extract from Racing Record 4 (1992/93)

No sire has made a greater impact internationally in recent years than Irish stallion Last Tycoon, who started his career in his home country, then served dual seasons there and Down-Under. He was an instant success, with Gr1 winners in the UK, France, Australia, Italy – and South Africa. Five yearlings from his first southern hemisphere crop were imported to South Africa, all bought at the 1992 Sydney Easter Sales.

Last Tycoon was champion sprinter in Europe in 1986, and the third top-rated miler. He won the King’s Stand Stakes, William Hill Sprint Championship as well as the Breeders’ Cup Mile, all Gr1 races. He is a son of Try My Best, a full brother to Northern Guest and to El Gran Senor. He is the first living foal of his dam Mill Princess, who won over 2000m in France and who is by Mill Reeef out of the dam of Irish Derby winner Irish Ball and of Irish Bird, dam of Assert and Bikala. Last Tycoon stood his first season at Coolmore, alongside his sire, at a fee of 35,000 guineas. The Last Tycoons imported from Australia (and they are likely to be the ‘last’ as the sire’s progeny will now be well out of reach for us) are Rock Circus (as yet unraced), Rohira (out of an Irish mare, whose dam is sister to Relko), Super Sheila (out of an Irish mare whose dam is half sister to Grey Dawn), Tartan Tycoon (whose second dam is a half sister to Try My Best and Northern Gust), and Tracy’s Element, whose sister Topasannah is a Graded Stakes winner here.

Tracy’s Element cost AUS$100,000, not an exceptional sum for a filly with essentially a Northern hemisphere pedigree. The Last Tycoon x Ahonoora cross is one reason why Tracy is now worth a great deal more and it would come as no surprise if she was exported again to race abroad. Her rating of 112 puts her in the top-twenty juveniles (of both sexes) that race in the UK and France in an average year, a fact which no doubt will not have gone unnoticed by her connections.

Tracy’s Element was voted Champion 2yo Filly of 92/93, and there wasn’t anything better around. She won five of her six starts, the only defeat coming when beaten by Star Award and Super Sheila over 400m in April. She was hanging that time, and either felt something, or found the 1400m a little too much so early in her career. Tracy’s Element’s biggest win came in the Gr1 Smirnoff (S1200), where she beat a strong field of colts and fillies convincingly, handy all the way. She left no doubt about her superiority over her own sex when she won again a month later, beating Star Award, Fair Model and Super Sheila in the Gr1 JB MacIntosh Classic over 1400m at Greyville – by over 2 lengths, and despite hanging again.

The biggest uncertainty that hangs over Tracy’s Element’s future is how far she will stay. Last Tycoon, bred to stay a mile, won the Breeders’ Cup Mile, and has sired the winner of the French 2000 Guineas. Princess Tracy, a daughter of Ahonoora, stayed 1400 (she had a Timeform rating of 111). It seems that 1400, or perhaps an easy mile, is most likely to be the limit of her stamina. Her style of racing up to now has been with or close to the pace, and she has yet to race on soft going. Should she continue her career abroad, where the pickings are not necessarily richer but her market value is, we expect her to give a good account of herself – even though she’ll be by no means in the top bracket in the US or Europe. But at least there will be the opportunity to place her skilfully – which in South Africa will not be the case at all. If she does stay here, possible clashes with the likes of fulfilment and Lupine Lady should be something to look forward to.

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