The Danehill dominance of the Golden Slipper Stakes, the world’s richest race for two year olds continued at Rosehill Australia, last weekend, when his granddaughter Forensics claimed the prize.
The pre-race discussions centered on two premises: that the Melbourne juveniles were superior this season, and the Golden Slipper would ultimately emerge from among the early spring juvenile winners. But Forensics doused all those theories when the lightly raced Sydney filly, who did not make her debut until February 9th, came from the back of the field and her advantageous No 1 draw to mow down the early speed which had come from Husson Lighting (Hussonet) and Murtajill (Rock of Gibraltar).
Forensics was Flying Spur’s fourth individual Grade One winner over the past five weeks, and he is the third son of Danehill to sire a Golden Slipper winner following Danzero (sire in 2004 of Dance Hero) Redoubte’s Choice (sire of 2005 winner Stratum, and last year’s winner, Miss Finland) and in doing so, he was delivering up four straight Slippers to sons of Danehill in the last four years.
Add those to Danehill’s personal tally of five, and the great stallion is responsible for nine of the last fourteen Slippers that he and his sons have been eligible for.
All three of his Slipper producing sons, as well as Danehill himself, have been inmates at the Hunter Valley’s Arrowfield Stud, which also owned and raced the one-time Golden Slipper fancy, Way West, who forged his place among the early favourites for the race following a record breaking effort in the Blue Diamond Prelude (Gr 3). Sadly, his run for the Slipper ended in the Blue Diamond Stakes (Gr 1) itself when he was cannoned into and split a hoof, an accident which compromised his racing career from there on.
Danehill, the Local Connection.
The Summerhill connection with Danehill comes partly courtesy of Way West (owned jointly by Summerhill, Arrowfield Stud and Wallaby coaching legend and Australian folk hero, Alan Jones) But the connection with the southern hemisphere’s greatest sire doesn’t end there, however, as the farm also stands Danehill’s best performed racing son in Africa, Solskjaer (120 Timeform rating) and was responsible for the importation of his only other Graded stakes winning son, Requiem.
Sitting in the departures lounge before winging our way to Dubai last week, we received a welcome email from our old mate, Bill Oppenheim, revered as one of the world’s greatest ever commentators on the stallion business, and as the architect of racing’s most significant statistical database. As good as Bill has been in his callings, he’s been just as ordinary in marriage, so his proposal was that we get together in Dubai to meet the “final” Mrs Oppenheim, or put another way, Mrs. Bill Oppenheim IV.
We caught up at the Arabian Nights Party, without doubt the greatest Braai we’ve ever had the pleasure to attend.
Bill was in full cry, as usual, as was his statistical counterpart in the United States, Alan Briggs, whom many will remember for Alan’s invaluable work when he came as Summerhill’s guest to assist breeders with their matings two years ago. It was a real pleasure to catch up with the new Mrs. Oppenheim. Indeed, she seems that good, that we’d back her to be the “final”, if Bill’s record wasn’t as bad as it has been. Living in isolated circumstances in a remote part of Scotland gives this one a better shot, and we guess this could be the real deal.
As it turns out, this writer was in somewhat isolated company, as we had two other great mates, Angus Gold, who is only just one behind Bill when it comes to ex wives, and Barry Clements, who went through three fiancées before he finally settled on Liz, and who to Barry’s eternal credit, remains the only Mrs. Clements on record!!