Stallion Wildcat Heir at Journeyman Stud
Stallion Wildcat Heir at Journeyman Stud

Click above to watch Wildcat Heir on show at Journeyman Stud

(Image and Footage : Journeyman Stud)


We’ve all witnessed the effects of restlessness among the people on the streets of Tunisia and Egypt in the past few weeks, and the impact of a common uprising. In the thoroughbred context, we’ve also witnessed an uprising of a different kind among a couple of stallions you might’ve termed “blue collar” in their pedigree origins. Indeed, two of the very best we’ve known, Foveros and Jet Master, came from what you would call typically plebeian backgrounds. When Foveros arrived in South Africa in the late 80’s, there was only one Black type horse in the first four generations of his pedigree, and that was him. Besides, his father Averof, had failed in England, was banished from Australia, and didn’t do much better in South Africa.

It’s well known that Jet Master’s grandmother and great grandmother resided at Summerhill, and he too, was short of Black type in his female line. His great grandmother Let’s Laugh, was the only one in the first four generations carrying such a status, and it was “small” black type for that matter, courtesy of her second place in the Allan Robertson Fillies Championship (Gr.1).

Yet these two have risen to become as good at their jobs as stallions as anything we’ve known in local breeding history, which gives the lie somewhat to those who’ve always maintained that an aristocratic background is the only key to breeding success.

Foveros of course, was the arch competitor to our own Northern Guest, as regally bred an animal as you could wish for, being by the immortal Northern Dancer and an own brother to two champions in Try My Best and El Gran Senor. This reality once prompted us in a philosophical moment, to ask the great trainer, Terrance Millard, what he understood to be a good pedigree. After fifty years in the game, his conclusion was that a “good pedigree belongs to a good horse”.

In a weekend commentary on the North American and European third crop stallions, one of the most formidable in modern history, the world’s top authority on the subject, Bill Oppenheim, devoted some attention to another “blue collar” star in the constellation, Wildcat Heir. Like our own “hot” young stallion, Var, (another blue collar job), he’s a son of Forest Wildcat and he hit the deck running with an incredible 39 first crop juvenile winners.

Said Oppenheim, “The 2010 sophomore sire phenomenon Wildcat Heir… had an amazing 30 three-year-old ABC Runners in his first crop, nine more than Giant’s Causeway and Distorted Humor.

Nobody else was even close. It’s one thing to be a leading freshman sire, but to sire 30 horses in a crop that each earn $50,000 or more in a season, that takes some doing. Very impressive.”

Wildcat Heir’s prominence on Oppenheim’s APEX rankings is mirrored on Thoroughbred Daily News’ Third-Crop Cumulative Earnings Sire List, where the 11-year-old sits third, behind the Europeans Shamardal (Giant’s Causeway) and Dubawi (Dubai Millennium), and ahead of the rest of his North American competition. Wildcat Heir had cumulative progeny earnings of $6,077,836 as of yesterday morning, about $385,000 in front of fourth placed Afleet Alex (Northern Afleet). Roman Ruler (Fusaichi Pegasus) rounded out the top five.

Wildcat Heir’s 106 individual winners (from 206 named foals) is just off Dubawi’s leading figure of 108 winners (from 210 named foals). He ranks fourth by black-type winners (10) and fifth by black-type horses (17).

The only knock against the up-and-comer is that his numbers are a bit soft when it comes to graded races.

Only one of his 10 black-type winners has won a graded stakes, last year’s G3 Old Hat Stakes heroine Richiegirlgonewild, and none of his four graded horses has placed in a Grade 1.

Then again, we are talking about a sire who began his career for a modest $8,000 fee and currently stands for $10,000, so how critical can one be about the lack of graded horses, particularly when he’s getting such consistent quality, borne out by his APEX figures.

Extracts from Thoroughbred Daily News