This weekend, a crack field of sophomore fillies will come to blows in the World Sports Betting Gr1 Cape Fillies Guineas at Kenilworth.
Rich in history, a scroll down the honour roll of this mile classic makes for impressive reading and has been won by some exceptional fillies in the past, many of which have gone on to enjoy success as broodmares.
A nostalgic trip down memory lane takes one back to the seventies, a decade in which a heady cocktail of winners included the likes of Kendal Green, Party Time, Rose Bay, Festive Season and Wild Ash, all of which became fine broodmares.
Kendal Green, who claimed the scalp of the future Paddock Stakes winner Ovarownde in 1974, bred the Gr1 winning juvenile This England and also features as the grandam of Michael de Broglio’s SA Oaks winner Sabina Park, who in turn produced the dual Summer Cup hero Master Sabina.
Party Time not only proved her superiority on the racetrack, she also established her own dynasty for the Cohen’s Odessa Stud. Ancestress of a host of fine gallopers, her descendants include such exalted names as champions Trademark, Let’s Rock’N Roll, In The Fast Lane and the Gr1 winner Morisco, to name a few.
Australian import Rose Bay captured both the Cape and KZN Fillies Guineas and she made her mark at stud as the dam of champion Mark Anthony, one of an elite group of winners of both the Met and the Queen’s Plate.
How can we forget the wonderful racemare Festive Season. Her Fillies Guineas victory aside, she will probably always be remembered for her gallant neck second behind the mighty Politician in the 1979 Met.
The daughter of Persian Wonder became a broodmare of note, her treble of stakes winners featuring her outstanding daughter Festive Forever, the first of two Gold Cup winners trained by Tony Millard. She in turn became the dam of Champion juvenile Fearless.
The Zandvliet-bred Wild Ash likewise completed the Cape/Natal Fillies Guineas double. She produced Champion three-year-old and Met winner Wild West and also features as the grandam of another classic winner in Gr1 Cape Derby hero Ultrasound.
The eighties winners include In Camera, Flying Snowdrop, Jallad’s half-sister Petrava, Kiss Of Peace and the Argentinian grey Fanciful.
Kiss Of Peace, who took the classic in 1988, became a matron of note for Varsfontein Stud, her progeny including the graded stakes winners Kiss Me Quick and Mason Dixon. She is also grandam of Gr1 Cape Guineas winner Kilindini and the Gr1-performed stakes winner Kiss Again.
A good number of descendants of 1983 winner In Camera have graced the tracks in recent years. Grandaughter Tatler was the country’s Champion female sprinter of 2001, whilst another grandaughter, the Gr1 winner and champion juvenile Consensual produced Just Sensual, who emulated her dam by winning the classic in 2017.
The Jaffee-owned Petrava achieved similar success when her champion daughter Hoeberg followed in her dam’s footsteps in 2000.
Imported Fillies Guineas winners Petrava, Flying Snowdrop and Fanciful have gone on to prove worthy additions to the local gene pool. Sparkling Gem emulated her grandam Flying Snowdrop in the 2008 Cape Fillies Guineas, while Argentinian-bred Fanciful produced SA Fillies Classic victress Cover Look, who in turn bred the English Gr2 winning stayer Shipmaster.
Fanciful’s grandsons Orange Alert and Winter Fever also flew the South African flag in Hong Kong and Britain respectively.
The mighty Olympic Duel rang in the nineties with her Cape Guineas success, a forerunner to no less than six subsequent Gr1 wins, amongst which the J&B Met and two renewals of the Paddock Stakes. Equally as successful in the paddocks, she produced Gr1 Daily News 2000 hero Flying Duel, whilst her stakes winning daughter Lightning Duel bred Gr1 Gold Cup winner and Champion stayer Thundering Star. Olympic Duel also features as the grandam of young Drakenstein stallion, the Gr2 winner Gold Standard.
KwaZulu-Natal bred and trained Dance Every Dance, who won the classic in 1995 , did broodmare duty for Lammerskraal Stud and although she died all too early at age 11, her legacy is assured through her stakes-placed daughter Akinfeet. Broodmare of the Year in 2013, she produced the Champion miler and sire Capetown Noir and is also grandam of 2019 Champion Juvenile filly Anything Goes, who had the distinction of defeating Triple Tiara War Of Athena as a juvenile.
Since the start of the new millennium, Fillies Guineas winners to have made their mark in the paddocks include Shadow Dancing, Perfect Promise, Field Flower and Sport’s Chestnut.
A Fort Wood half-sister to champion sire Captain Al, 2004 winner Shadow Dancing bred the dual Gr1 winner Thunder Dance, while Perfect Promise became a stakes producer in Australia and also features as the dam of Bush Hill-based stallion Redoute’s Promise. Also resident at Bush Hill is the handsome Last Winter, a son of 2009 victress Field Flower. A R3.7 million yearling by Western Winter, he capped a six-start local campaign with a flying second in the Gr1 Sun Met and placed at stakes level in the UK before returning to his birth country.
Sport’s Chestnut, by Sportsworld out of a half-sister to Horse Chestnut, lived up to her fine pedigree by producing the Gr3 winner Off The Mark and Gr1-placed Sports Coach, both by Jet Master. She is also grandam of Gr3-placed Le Clos.
It is probably a bit premature to judge the Fillies Guineas winners of the last decade, many of which have virtually just embarked on their careers. Those which are already represented on the track include the 2013 winner In The Fast Lane. The champion daughter of Jet Master’s first two foals, both born in Australia, are the exciting sprint prospects Real Gone Kid and Stiptelik.
Snowdance, who landed the 2017 running, produced her first foal, a colt by ill-fated Lancaster Bomber in 2020, while 2018 winner Front And Centre’s first foal by Canford Cliffs was born this spring.
Sadly, the 2019 winner Missisippi Burning, has joined Just Sensual as the latest Cape Fillies Guineas winner to join the Australian broodmare ranks.
But back to this weekend’s renewal.
The tradition of excellence continues, as two of the twelve runners are grandaughters of previous winners. Dancetildaylight will attempt to become the second Gr1 winner for Broodmare of the Year Akinfeet, a daughter of 1995 winner Dance Every Dance, while Brett Crawford’s She’s A Rainbow is out of Thunder Dance, the Gr1 winning daughter of 2004 winner Shadow Dancing.
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