SplashOut Cape Derby – Millie Family Still Doing It

Ancestress of a host of fine gallopers

There was a time when the ambition of every respectable breeder was to get their hands on a broodmare from the ‘Millie’ family.

We do of course refer to Modern Millie, ancestress of a host of fine gallopers, the latest of which last weekend’s Gr1 SplashOut Cape Derby winner See It Again.

See It Again after his SplashOut Gr1 Cape Derby victory (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

A dual winner by Oligarchy, Modern Millie far exceeded her racetrack form in the paddocks, with all but one of her twelve foals finding the winner’s enclosure, amongst which the Gr1 winning fillies Smart As Paint and Mill Hill.

The former, a daughter of short-lived stallion Jan Ekels, won the (then) Gr1 Natal Fillies Guineas whilst finishing third in both the Paddock and Majorca Stakes. At stud she produced the fine stayers Sand and Soldier.

Royal Prerogative half-sister Mill Hill, did even better, scoring twice at Gr1 level by claiming the Lancome and defeating her male rivals in the Germiston November Handicap.

Mill Hill wins the 1988 Rex Trueform Championship

She became the dam of dual Gr3 winner Bushra, who in turn bred East Cape Derby winner True Master and multiple stakes winner Beataboutthebush.

Modern Millie’s lesser-performed daughters also added to the family fortunes. Mighty Millie bred Gr3 winner Mighty Doll, while Millie The Model counts amongst her descendants St John Gray’s outstanding champion Dancewiththedevil and the Gr1-performed sprinter War Lord.

Millie Bovana, an own sister to Mill Hill, features as the third dam of See It Again.

In contrast to her Gr1 winning own sister, she was just a modest one-time winner, but nevertheless produced seven winners, the best of which the Casey Tibbs filly Sweet Virginia.

Sweet Virginia (photo: Lammerskraal Stud)

Sweet Virginia (photo: Lammerskraal Stud)

A smallish, slight-framed individual, she was no oil painting but handsome is as handsome does, and her defeat of colts in both the Gr3 Winter Classic and Winter Derby is testament to her toughness and talent.

Put up for auction at the end of her racing career, Sweet Virginia was acquired by well-known horseman Robin Bruss and duly became a jewel in his small but select broodmare portfolio.

He recalls: “I bought her for R200 000, actually it was Drakenstein’s Kevin Sommerville, who was working for me at that point, and he attended the sale. He called me up and said, ‘I’ve bought you a broodmare’, which turned up to be a great buy. Kevin played a leading part in this mare and developing the entire family, all credit to him.”

Strong Man

Horse Of Fortune, then known as Strongman (Karl Neisius) wins the Listed Sophomore Sprint in easy fashion (Pic – Equine Edge)

It wasn’t long before Robin’s new acquisition weighed in with a first stakes winner.

Her second foal, the Stronghold colt Strongman landed the Listed Sophomore Sprint before his export to Hong Kong where as Horse Of Fortune, he became a dual Gr3 winner and eventually earned the equivalent of more than R33,6 million, not bad going for a R150 000 yearling!

However, it was Do It Again who put Sweet Virginia in the exalted realm of Gr1 producers.

Bred on a mating suggested by Kevin Sommerville, this big, strong son of Twice Over is trained by Justin Snaith and proved to be nigh invincible at three and four with Gr1 victories in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, Gold Challenge and back-to-back renewals of the Durban July.

The magnificently talented Do It Again (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

Voted the country’s Champion three-year-old, he went on to collect a coveted array of silverware at four, comprising the Champion Older Male, Champion Miler and Champion Middle Distance Horse, not to mention the ultimate prize, that of Horse of the Year.

By the way, Do It Again was preceded by a Visionaire filly named Supreme Vision, a good looking, balanced and athletic chestnut, who scored twice for owner Vanessa Harrison.

After dropping her first foal, a Querari filly, the decision to send Supreme Vision to Twice Over was a no-brainer, given the fact that Do It Again had just been named Champion three-year-old.

At the time, Vanessa decided to reduce her bloodstock portfolio and approached well-known agent Alistair Brown to find a buyer for Supreme Vision, who after all, was still an unproven entity as a broodmare.

Drakenstein Stud had no qualms about purchasing a young mare carrying a three-part sibling to a potential champion and the following spring, Supreme Vision foaled See It Again.

The rest as they say is history and she is now a valuable Gr1 producer amongst the stud’s star-studded broodmare band.

Read the latest SPRINT!

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