The Iron Lady Retires

'She's on the first float to Wartburg' - Mick Goss

“She’ll be catching the first float to Wartburg.”

That’s how part-owner Mick Goss officially confirmed the retirement of the ‘Iron Lady’ of the South African turf, Rouge Allure, who is our Sprint cover star this week.

Rouge Allure  (Gavin Lerena) is led by Stephen Moffatt and his son, Anthony Moffatt (Pic – JC Photos)

A firm favourite on the Gauteng circuit, the nine-year-old veteran closed out her racing career this past weekend with a fine third at Turffontein in what was her 102nd career start. Remarkably, her swan song was preceded by two wins.

In an age where the majority of female runners generally bid the track farewell at age five, maybe six, at a push, Rouge Allure has defied the benchmark. In fact, she only became a stakes winner at age eight when she captured the Listed Jacaranda Handicap on what was her 95th career start!

That this tough-as-teak mare has withstood the rigours of the racetrack can be attributed to her soundness, according to Mick.

“She’s a very, very good-legged mare,” he remarked. ” She’s a good specimen, with a bit more quality than the average Kahal.”

He makes no secret of the fact that he planned to retire Rouge Allure at the end of her four-year-old season, at which stage she had a more than respectable six wins to her name.

However, Mick was outvoted by his partner Albert Rapp, and he was right, Rouge Allure went on to score nine times more and retires a winner of 15 races and close on R1.4 million in stakes earnings.

All credit to Stephen Moffatt, who had the privilege of training the chestnut for her entire career.

The last stakes winner sired by top KZN stallion Kahal, Rouge Allure hails from a female family nurtured at the revered Juddmonte Farms. She is the best foal out of the Pivotal mare Mekyaas, whose dam Land Ahead, is a Juddmonte-bred half-sister to American Gr1 winner Contredance and to Gr2 winner Skimble, the dam of dual Gr1 winner Skimming.

While many breeders will frown at her retirement age, history shows that it’s not uncommon for a hard-raced mare to become a successful broodmare.

One who immediately comes to mind is Jet Master’s exemplary daughter River Jetez. A Gr1 winner of the J&B Met, the own sister to Pocket Power successfully traversed the globe before retiring to stud, having won 12 of 42 starts. She dropped her first foal at age 10, which turned out to be the Azzie-trained Gr1 Computaform Sprint hero Rivarine, who proved himself to be as tough as his dam and was still winning at the age of seven. River Jetez subsequently produced his full sister Delta Queen, a winner of the Gr3 Kenilworth Fillies Nursery.

Anthony gives the star a hug (Pic – JC Photos)

Then there’s Spirit Of Eagles, the American-bred dam of champion Silvano. Another sound individual, she raced 59 times and while not particularly classy, she proved herself to be consistent, scoring 11 times. She became Germany’s Broodmare of the Year in 2001 and in addition to Silvano, produced American and German Gr1 winner Sabiango.

Where to now for Rouge Allure? She is destined for the paddocks of new KZN breeder Sandra Trethewey’s Bloomhill Stud, who is more than excited to welcome the accomplished mare.

Read about Bloomhill Stud here

“I am very lucky,” Sandra explained. “I bought six mares at the Summerhill dispersal sale and Mick has since become sort of my mentor. He actually phoned me in March and said to me, I have a mare for you. That was Rouge Allure.”

Sandra, who is now part-owner of Rouge Allure, added: “I could see that Albert was betwixt and between about retiring her and so I said to him, as you have such a special bond with her, why don’t we three own her together and breed from her as a team.”

As for which stallion Rouge Allure will visit first, Mick added: ” I haven’t discussed it with Sandra yet, but Got The Greenlight could be a possible first mate. Physically, she’s probably ideal for him, being a good-bodied mare with a good hindquarter on her.

“I haven’t seen her in the flesh since I sold her I think and it will be very nice to catch up and see her when she arrives. She’s been absolutely remarkable, we should all try to breed her ilk.”

One thing is sure, Gauteng racegoers will miss this venerable mare, who always gave of her best. We wish her well.

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