Vogel Vlei – Setting A New Standard

A win for young Karoo breeder Colin Birch

The much deserved victory of Golden Hostess in last weekend’s Gr3 Diana Stakes was cause for celebration, not just for her owner/breeder Drakenstein Stud, but also for young Karoo breeder Colin Birch.

Gold Standard’s daughter Golden Hostess wins the Hollywoodbets Gr3 Diana Stakes (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

Twice Gr1-placed at three when third in both the Majorca Stakes and SA Fillies Sprint, the four-year-old’s overdue maiden stakes success was timed to perfection, as it came barely a week after her sire Gold Standard had made the move to his new home, historic Vogel Vlei Stud.

“Gold Standard arrived in good shape and has settled in smoothly,” Colin remarked. “We are excited by his presence in the Birch stallion barn, and in the greater Karoo in general.”

Gold Standard settles in at his new digs

The Gr2 winning son of Trippi spent his first four seasons at Drakenstein, but with a Gr1 win missing from his resume (he did run second in the Gr1 Cape Guineas and fourth in the Gr1 Met), it was always a given that the handsome bay would battle to grab the imagination of Western Cape breeders, who, to be honest, can pick and choose from the most powerful band of stallions in the country.

Yet, despite not having access to a galaxy of star broodmares, Gold Standard has made the most of his early opportunities.

Golden Hostess joins Listed Jamaica Handicap victress Gold Poker Game as the second stakes winner to emerge from his first crop, which also includes Gr1 Cape Fillies Guineas third Hold My Hand.

Remarkably, all are fillies, as is Irridescence Stakes runner-up Royals, who hails from his second crop, which are now three. His best male runner to date is three-time winner Star Coin, who just missed out on small black type when fourth in the Listed Secretariat Stakes.

Notwithstanding this promising start to his stallion career, support for Gold Standard has dwindled and in order to give him more opportunity, he was offered to Colin, who didn’t hesitate to stand the horse.

The Diana result has fully vindicated that decision and prompted Colin to remark: “Golden Hostess won the Diana very impressively indeed and even bigger things could come this season for the filly. It’s wonderful timing for Gold Standard, and we are confident he will continue to produce top class progeny going forward. He’s a very good looking stallion and has produced smart looking foals that have shown they can run!”

Within days of arriving at Vogel Vlei, Gold Standard was firing on all cylinders and according to Colin “covers like a bomb”.

He added: “We are sending him some of our better mares and just a couple of days ago he covered Seven Veils, the dam of Gr2 winner Sniper Shot. Another is Off To Dance, who is a half-sister to Captain Al. Her colt Emblem Of War ran a close second on debut last week for the Azzie yard and looks very promising too!”

Gold Standard’s appeal has not gone unnoticed amongst Karoo breeders and the first outside mare he served was Fort Wood’s daughter Liberty Star, the dam of Gr1 Premiers Champion Stakes runner-up Liberty Hall.

The handsome Gold Standard (Pic – Drakenstein Stud)

As befits a R750 000 yearling, Gold Standard is an imposing, rangy individual and boasts a splendid female line, being out of Olympic Dam, a daughter of Horse of the Year and crack sire Model Man and the champion racemare Olympic Duel, whilst his third dam is Broodmare of the Year Mashka, who also produced champion Dancing Duel and the Gr2 winner Castleton.

“I’m certain the Karoo breeders will see his arrival as an opportunity, take advantage of it and utilise his services,” Colin added. “The Cape’s loss is our gain, I guess.”

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