Records are there to be broken and one which looks in danger of being consigned to the ash heap is Drakenstein Stud’s tally of 18 individual stakes winners, set as recently as last season.
That much is evident, considering Itsrainingwilliam became the 17th individual stakes winner of the current season bred by the stud when he captured the WSB Gr3 Legal Eagle Stakes at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on Saturday.
Drakenstein’s run of success is sure to continue and with two full months still to go, what odds there will be a new record come 31 July?
A three-year-old son of William Longsword, Itsrainingwilliam also enhanced the growing stature of his dam Imvula, for he joins the fine fillies Rain In Newmarket and Rain In Holland as her third stakes performer and second stakes winner.
A British-bred daughter of Aqlaam, Imvula’s appeal was quite obvious, for she is a half-sister to that grand racemare Dancer’s Daughter, who racked up no less than five Gr1’s in the famous Beck silks, one of which her memorable deadheat with the mighty Pocket Power in the 2008 Vodacom Durban July.
Owner Gaynor Rupert recalled how Imvula landed in the Drakenstein fold : “She was bought for me by Tom Goff who had previously bought Dancer’s Daughter for Graham Beck. He therefore knew the family and brought her to my attention.”
A grey, just like her illustrious sibling, Imvula went into training with Ed Dunlop, but a suspensory issue limited her racing career to a win from just two starts.
Prior to leaving for South Africa, Imvula was covered by Galileo’s accomplished son Nathaniel, and in late September of 2016, she delivered a grey colt at Drakenstein. Named Rain In England, he proved of little account on the racetrack.
Imvula had better luck with her next consort, the short-lived Kingsbarns, also a son of Galileo. The resultant foal, the filly Rain In Newmarket lacked nothing in talent, and although stakes success eluded her, she nevertheless racked up a slew of black-type places, prime amongst which Gr3 seconds in the Final Fling Stakes, Victress Stakes and Prix du Cap.
Imvula hit the jackpot in a big way with her next foal, the Duke Of Marmalade filly Rain In Holland.
She was sent to Sean Tarry and showed she was special by winning five straight races at two, highlighted by a thrilling last gasp victory in the Gr1 Thekwini Stakes.
Named the season’s Champion Juvenile Filly, she built on that with a superb three-year-old campaign which brought with it the SA Triple Tiara and another championship as the leading sophomore filly.
Surgery to correct an entrapped epiglottis saw her side-lined for the first six months of her four-year-old season and she only regained the winning thread in late March with a fluent victory over her champion stayer stablemate Nebraas in the Gr2 Colorado King Stakes.
That was followed by a smart third in the Gr1 Premiers Champions Challenge, where she was beaten less than a length.
Imvula’s liaison with William Longsword yielded Itsrainingwilliam, whereafter Imvula visited Trippi and foaled a coveted filly, which is now a juvenile.
“Rain in Tripoli is also with Sean Tarry. I can’t wait to see her run,” remarked Gaynor Rupert.
For those who have wondered about the naming of her offspring, Imvula is the Zulu word for rain, fitting for a mare who is producing a steady stream of black-type performers and looks set to become an influential matriarch.
Needless to say, Gaynor is thrilled with the mare’s fine record. “She seems to upgrade everything she has.”
It is safe to say that at this stage of their broodmare careers, Imvula has outperformed her more accomplished half-sister, for to date, Dancer’s Daughter has produced four winners from six runners, with the Listed Kings Cup winner Born To Perform and East Cape Paddock Stakes third Step Lively the only ones to gain black type.
Imvula and Dancer’s Daughter are out of the Damister mare Reason To Dance, who placed in both the Gr3 Falmouth and Rockfel Stakes. While Dancer’s Daughter was by far her best foal, she also produced the English Gr3 winner Diktatorial. It’s quite remarkable though, that her legacy will be through a trio of daughters, all of which found their way to South Africa.
In addition to Imvula and Dancer’s Daughter, Reason To Dance is also dam of Princess Magdalena, a modest one-time winner by 2000 Guineas winner Pennekamp.
She was imported by Ascot Stud and has produced the talented sprinter Search Party, who captured the Gr2 Post Merchants and Gr2 Cape Merchants, whilst running second in the Gr1 Tsogo Sun Sprint and Gr1 Mercury Sprint and third in the Gr1 Cape Flying Championship.
Interestingly, all the Gr1 success enjoyed by this female line has been in South Africa and stretches as far back as 1991, when the Gr1 Gold Cup was won by the David Payne-trained import Icona, under whose tutelage he blossomed into a champion stayer.
By Nijinsky’s classic winning son Green Dancer, he is a half-brother to La Nureyeva, who just happens to be the dam of Reason To Dance.
But back to Imvula.
After being barren two years running, she is now in foal to resident stallion Futura and has been joined in the paddocks by Rain In Newmarket, who visited One World last spring.
Rain In Holland will no doubt return to Drakenstein in due course, as will any future daughters of Imvula.
As for that record, Gaynor added. “If we can surpass our 18 stakes winners, we will be cracking open the champagne for sure.”