There’s no end, it seems, to the interest racehorses are attracting at the moment and there’s certainly no peace for the wicked.
We hadn’t even begun the big clean up following Sunday’s Stallion Day, when the Broodmare Manager, Sales and Pre Training Manager, “The Boss” and his assistant were being dispatched in the direction of the new King Shaka airport site.
Close by, perched on a hilltop overlooking the indigo waters of the Indian Ocean, is the Sibaya (“Kraal”) Casino, host to this year’s Yearling & Broodmare sales. And it’s certainly working as a venue, though it’s probably fair to say, racing’s on such a high right now, the mob that made it there, would probably have been much the same in Timbuktu. The Irish would easily be able to identify with the new fervor sweeping the country, and if they’re not chasing the stock exchange, they’re certainly into horses, just about anyone with a spare buck in his pockets. For the record, the highpoints were:
Summerhill stalwart Steve Sturlese was rewarded for his worship of Muhtafal with R700 000 for Infinite Spirit, a Grade One performing juvenile of 2006, and winner of his most recent start.
We bid R400 000 for the most spectacular filly on parade, multiple big race winner, Chant de Nuit, but we didn’t even reach the warm-up stages as she made R500K. Wendy Whitehead got her just desserts for managing this girl superbly, and doing an even better job on the turn-out at the sale. She is Vuma-fed, though, which probably says something. We were again outgunned at R375k for a Giant’s Causeway filly, Rock Goddess, who had her faults, but a grand top line. Equine Administration signed the ticket. Otherwise, we bought some really decent sorts (4) for the Hong Kong Breeders Club, who announced their 30% acquisition of our young Danehill stallion, Way West, on Friday. Peter Yip’s team join Summerhill and Australia’s greatest nursery, Arrowfield in his ownership. The Hong Kong fellows under the guidance of ex Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club CEO, General Guy Watkins, have demonstrated their commitment to WAY WEST with 10 new mares of grand credentials. Already a lover of racing, His Majesty King Letsie III of Lesotho, was never more animated than when we acquired the Saumarez mare, Scagway, for an intended visit to SOLSKJAER. The foundation mare in a new Royal Stud venture, Scagway was selected especially for the stallion. Let us explain. The “Arc Winner”, Saumarez is the new “find” on the broodmare sires firmament. He gets lovely, scopey, femine fillies, which we’ve been assembling for a while, and this year, both the English Derby (Authorized) and German Derby winners are from Saumarez mares.
The plot thickens with Authorized. His sire is Montjeu (by Northern Dancer line stallion, Sadler’s Wells) whose broodmare sire is Top Ville. SOLSKJAER is by Danehill (also tracing to Northern Dancer on top) from a Top Ville mare.
A mating by SOLSKJAER on a Saumarez mare, therefore repeats the “Authorized” cross, and dare we say, if the result is half as good, the King will have hit the jackpot. So far, you can’t fault the genius.
Not the biggest investor, but by some distance, the most enthusiastic (and probably the most sentimental, as well), was His (retired) Lordship, the Hon Justice Alan Magid, who bought Cococay a sister to his one-time racehorse, DeoFretus. By National Emblem, this granddaughter of Windsor Forest will be visiting Way West on a service purchased at Sunday’s Charity auction by Alan’s wife, Brenda, who managed to get her way in the bidding by raising her right hand, when the Judge attempted to intervene by holding down the other one!! Well done, Brenda. You have breathed life into the old soul – and this is a lovely mare purchased from the Rand Merchant Bank/First National/Momentum Life duo of Laurie Dippenaar & GT Ferreira, as well as ex Jockey Club Chair, Peter Jaeger.