(Photo : Greig Muir)
“The only Son of Sunday Silence
on the Continent”
Team Valor have been America’s leading syndicate owners for the past several seasons, and there have been no short heads in it. Last year, they compiled a remarkable record of thirteen stakes winners of seventeen stakes races, including their home-bred winner of America’s greatest horserace, the Kentucky Derby (Animal Kingdom). It’s not much different in 2012, and the way they are going right now, it’s another good reason why 2012 won’t be what the Mayan calendar has prophesied.
A fortnight ago, Team Valor partners Alan Miller and Steve Karlin treated us to an uplifting talk at our Winter Workshop, on why Team Valor’s principal, Barry Irwin, considers South Africa the undiscovered jewel as a quality source of top-class thoroughbreds. Just this past weekend, the message came home again, when yet another homebred, Howe Great, skated home in the Jersey Derby. As a son of Hat Trick, (a top-class son of the Japanese sensation, Sunday Silence) out of a Western Winter mare (Ginger Sea), Howe Great was chalking-up another Graded Stakes win on the turf. For a moment, he set pulses racing a little earlier in the year when he shaped up as another Kentucky Derby contender for Team Valor, but his forte appears to be the grass, and that may have him going off in a different direction when the seasonal championships in that division emerge towards year end. Meanwhile though, he’s another advert for local breeding, as well of course, for his own sire, who with Deep Impact, is making an international name for himself and Sunday Silence not only in Japan and the United States, but in Europe, where last season he had the unbeaten champion two-year-old of France, Dabirsim.
Which brings us home for a moment. The only son, and he’s a highly accomplished one, of Sunday Silence on this continent, is Admire Main, resident here at Summerhill. His first youngsters are yearlings now, and the achievements of Howe Great begs the question: how many Western Winter mares do you have, and could you do any better than breeding them to a horse who ranked the joint second-best runner of his generation in Japan. We guess it’s worth recalling that he was no ordinary runner either; he won his first four starts, a maiden special weights at 1400m, a Listed, a Group Three and a Group Two, in that order by a combined twenty-three and a half lengths, before going down just a neck to the champion three-year-old of his generation, Meisho Samson, in the Japanese Derby.