cape crossCAPE CROSS (Photo: Darley)CAPE CROSS: Sire of Oiuja Board and Four Northern Hemisphere bred Group One winners this past year.

An obvious horse for us is CAPE CROSS, hugely successful in Europe and summarily discarded in Australia in spite of some serious successes. The Kiwis still hold a good deal of respect for him, and they’re also subject to the vagaries of a similar market, so there’s only so much they’ll pay.

In general terms, we were also looking for the later, not-so-obvious types, in order to get in a blow, and we did with a son of Cape Cross, out of a sister to an American Champion.

tale of the catTALE OF THE CAT (Photo: Coolmore)Similarly TALE OF THE CAT, who produced two Group One winners in his first crop in New Zealand, but was then withdrawn from shuttle service (and hence forgotten!) for two years, is another “opportunity” for us, especially as Dennis Drier has a proper Group One sort in his juvenile team this year. So we got one, and he has a serious page to go with him. Another late foal, looks the image of his father.

royal academyROYAL ACADEMY (Photo: Coolmore)ROYAL ACADEMY has now sired 144 international Stakes winners, and last year he got the winners of the Cape Guineas (Expressway) and our biggest race, the Vodacom Durban July (Eyeofthetiger). If ever there was a horse with a “wrap” for South Africa right now, it’s ROYAL ACADEMY, and we found a smart colt, the third to be foaled in November.

galileoGALILEO (Photo: Coolmore)And then there was GALILEO. We were assured he was “dead and buried” in Australia, and that for all his remarkable achievements in Europe (not to mention Red Rocks in the Breeders’ Cup), the word TEOFILO didn’t amount to a “blue Sue” in Oz. So we prepared ourselves for the onslaught, imagining we’d come home with a cattle truck full, only to find that the richest man in Ireland, JP McManns, had placed an open order for them. As he’d done last year when the MONTJEU’s went cold, he’d instructed his Coolmore mates to buy up the colts wherever they could find them and so, in spite of bidding well into the “hundreds” of thousands (to land in SA at around R800 000!), we were still being beaten. Never mind, “JP”, for all his money, knew he’d been in a scrap (with a small farm at the southernmost tip of what he’d describe as the world’s darkest continent)!

But we managed to slip one through. It’s a Coolmore habit to bid only at the very last moment, and in spite of his protestations over a late entry in the supplementary catalogue, Coolmore agent James Bester was unable to catch the attention of the bid spotter in time. So we got lucky. Not bad. One Galileo, one Cape Cross, one Tale of the Cat and one Royal Academy. And South Africa should be all the richer for them.