Speed And Stamina – Rafeef Is A Classic!

A exciting stallion for breeders and buyers

Rafeef is fast establishing a fine reputation as a stallion who has the ability to sire stakes winners across the speed and stamina spectrum.

The magnificent Rafeef – sensational son of Redoute’s Choice (Pic – Supplied)

The Ridgemont stallion enjoyed a notable weekend of stakes winners at Turffontein on Champions Day this past Saturday, when his three-year-old daughter Frances Ethel took the Wilgerbosdrift Bridget Oppenheimer Gr2 SA Oaks, and Thunderstruck overcame a troubled passage to add the Gr1 Jonsson Workwear Computaform Sprint to his Gr1 Gold Medallion as a juvenile, much to the delight of owner Mary Slack, who let slip in the post-race interview that the five-year-old entire may eventually join the stallion band at her Wilgerbosdrift Stud.

Exciting times for both Rafeef winners, as Frances Ethel raced under the internationally active Team Valor International banner for the first time, and will no doubt be winging her way abroad in time to come.

Incidentally, this is not the first time Rafeef enjoyed a sprint/classic double – that honour belongs to first-crops sons Master Archie and Aragosta, who put their sire in the spotlight at the same Derby meeting two years ago.

On that day, Master Archie outduelled paternal half-brother Cleaver Greene to give his sire a one-two in the Gr3 Man O’War Stakes over 1100m and if that wasn’t enough cause for celebration, Aragosta became Rafeef’s landmark first Gr1 winner when he lifted the subsequent SA Derby over 2450m.

Frances Ethel scores an emphatic SA Oaks win under Kabelo Matsunyane (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

On Saturday, Aragosta found his feet late to run a very creditable third behind Summer Cup champion Royal Victory and Hollywoodbets Durban July hero Winchester Mansion in the World Pool Gr1 Premier’s Champions Challenge.

These achievements speak volumes for the versatility of their sire, considering he was a Gr1 winning sprinter himself, having won the Gr1 Computaform Sprint eleven years after his illustrious dam National Colour had dominated the elite level 1000m dash en route to Joint Horse of the Year honours.

Remarkably, Thunderstruck is Rafeef’s second Computaform Sprint winner, as Master Archie won it in 2022.

The country’s leading freshman sire of 2021, Rafeef has also emerged as a fitting successor to National Colour’s sire National Assembly, who likewise stood at the famed Robertson nursery.

Five times Champion Juvenile Sire, the son of Danzig carved out an enviable record, siring such champions as National Emblem and Soft Falling Rain (both successful sires), National Currency, Historic Lady, Enchantress, Forward Filly and National Bay.

The credit for Rafeef’s versatility over various distances may well have to go to his sire, Australian stallion extraordinaire Redoute’s Choice, who left seven Oaks winners and five Derby winners, amongst which Weiho Marwing’s SA Derby winner Wylie Hall.

Be that as it may, from a closer look at the pedigrees of Rafeef’s best runners, one could argue that he may well ‘throw to the dam’, as regards stamina or the lack of it.

Master Archie’s dam, the Bauhinia Handicap winner La Volta, scored all eight wins over the minimum trip, whilst his grandam, the Gr1 winner Sarabande, is by the outstanding sprinter/miler Goldmark.

Thunderstruck likewise is out of a Var mare, the Gr2 Post Merchants winner Varikate. Adding further toe is the presence of that brilliant sprinter Dayjur, whose son Modern Day sired Thunderstruck’s granddam Katie Star.

Dual Gr1 star Thunderstruck (Richard Fourie) is led in by Sean Tarry, Avontuur’s Pippa Mickleburgh and owner Mary Slack (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

Rafeef’s Gr2 winning son William Robertson’s best performances include runner-up efforts in the Gr1 Mercury Sprint and Computaform Sprint, and he is out of a mare by Trippi, broodmare sire also of Rafeef’s fleet-footed daughter, the Gr3 Pretty Polly Stakes winner Leaving Las Vegas, whose grandam is by multiple champion juvenile sire Storm Cat.

Rafeef’s ‘miler’ progeny includes Gr2 Dingaans winner Union Square. He has as his dam the Oaks Trial runner-up Square Dance, who in turn is out of Sadler’s Wells’ smart Gr2 Gold Circle Oaks winner and (then) Gr1 SA Oaks runner-up, Front House.

As regards Aragosta and Frances Ethel, the former’s dam Miss Galidora is a daughter of the mighty Galileo, whose record as a classic influence is unparalleled, whilst Oaks winner Frances Ethel has as her broodmare sire another classic stallion in the ubiquitous Fort Wood.

However, there are always exceptions to the rule – Aragosta’s own sister Mrs Browning being a prime example.

A winner of this season’s Gr3 Carry On Alice Stakes over 1100m, she clearly takes after her sire. The same would probably apply to last season’s smart juvenile Outlaw King.

Successful in the Gr2 Umkhomazi Stakes, and runner-up in the Gr1 Gold Medallion, both over 1200m, his dam Way Of Escape, a daughter of Gr1 SA Derby/Durban July winner Greys Inn, won up to 2000m.

While Rafeef stars Thunderstruck and Frances Ethel walked away with the laurels on Champions day, the same day performances of the son of Redoute’s Choice offspring, Beating Wings (a lightly raced Ridgemont bred three-time winner who ran 4th in the Gr2 SA Oaks), the earlier mentioned Aragosta, who ran 3rd in the Gr1 Premier’s Champions Challenge, and the gelding Positive Attitude and the 4yo filly Ipso Facto, who ran runner-up and fifth, respectively, in the 2850m Caradoc Gold Cup, attest to the versatility and extraordinary value of an exceptional sire.

“There is no doubt that Rafeef is an exciting stallion for breeders and buyers. After the initial thought from the industry that he would be an out and out sire of sprinters, it is fantastic to see that he is able to sire winners across the board – from sprinters to classic winners! His stakes winners-to-runners percentage year on year, over the last three years is outstanding, and he is rightfully challenging at the top.,” added a delighted Craig Carey, after a memorable Champions day.

While looking at the pedigree of this fast-ascending influence, it would be remiss not to make mention of the deeds of his dam National Colour, whose influence continues to grow Down Under.

As recently as last week, grandson Celestial Legend notched up a second Gr1 success when he captured the mile Doncaster Handicap at Randwick, where he had won the Gr1 Randwick Guineas in his previous start.

The first foal out of National Colour’s unraced daughter Sarraqa (who is by Redoute’s Choice’s son Snitzel), this was Celestial Legend’s fourth win in eight starts and upped his earnings to A$3.4 million.

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