With the pace at which the European bloodstock community entered the home stretch of its gruelling autumn-winter cycle still full of running, we were starkly reminded of the contrasting fortunes of those who transact across open borders and the shackles with which local horsemen have had to contend for decades in getting our bloodstock between provinces, let alone across borders.
Our friends thought us daft when, in late 2009, we acquired a small farm near Mooi River in KZN to start our great thoroughbred breeding adventure. How do you make a small fortune… some reminded me… start with a big fortune and go farming.
On the eve of the departure of the South African delegation for Hong Kong where they will be negotiating the normalisation of South Africa’s export protocols, the prospect of trade with China raises its enticing head. It’s well documented that Mick Goss presented South Africa’s political and commercial case for this process at the Asian Racing Conference in Mumbai earlier this year, and the delegation now representing our cause is taking the scientific argument to the international race meeting in Hong Kong next week. We all know this could be a game-changer for the South African racing and breeding industry, so that its significance cannot be underestimated. The relevance of this development was highlighted by Paul Haigh in an article in the Daily Telegraph.
For the past 20 years, Seamie Heffernan has been the ultimate team player at Ballydoyle: self-effacing, patient, uncomplaining, a shoulder to the wheel. But his maiden Breeders' Cup success, unmistakably, was the result of an inspired and vivid exhibition of individual flair.
"The one thing that never ceases to amaze me, is how things have turned out for the Irish-based racehorse breeding business Coolmore, and its international agencies, Ashford in the USA and the Hunter Valley’s Coolmore Australia." - Mick Goss / Summerhill CEO
For a son of Northern Dancer, Sadler’s Wells was anointed thus in honour of one of the world’s leading dance venues, which in turn earned its appellation from its original founder, Richard Sadler and the rediscovery of a monastic spring on the property, the waters of which were said to have strong medicinal powers. While we revel in the appropriateness of his association with the world of dance, just as we can in the case of his paternal half-brothers, Nijinsky, Nureyev, Lyphard and The Minstrel, there’s little doubt either about the “powers” of the stallion Sadler’s Wells, who, both as a sire and a sire of sires, was destined to become the most remarkable of all Northern Dancer’s sons.
Nureyev was bred by Seth Hancock at Claiborne Farm. Like his father and grandfather before him, Hancock had an impressive stallion roster of his own to choose from at a time when his barns were decorated by the likes of Mr. Prospector, Nijinsky, Secretariat, Round Table, the former South African champion Hawaii and Forli, but also like his ancestors, he acknowledged a good horse on another farm’s roster. Nureyev’s mother, Special, who was bred to Northern Dancer in 1976
Long before he became the world's first (and only ever) to command a million dollar stud fee and a yearling sales average in the vicinity of $3million, Northern Dancer had a few more tests ahead of him.
This is a story about triumph. Napoleon erected the Arc de Triomphe at the top end of the Champs Elysees to commemorate the most prosperous period in French military history. In 1920 the French racing authorities inaugurated the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in salute to the pinnacle of Continental horse racing; on Sunday, what has become Europe’s premier racing contest was renewed for the 96th time, and what a triumph it was.
From a South African perspective, outcomes at yesterday’s session of the world’s strongest yearling sale of 2016, begged the question: what price a Group One winning son of Dubawi, given his opening day average of 853.215 guineas (R15,357,87) of the stallion’s only Group One winning son in Africa, Willow Magic, first season incumbent of the Summerhill stallion barn. We speak of course, without bias!