Chair, Ladies and Gentlemen, 1995 was a landmark year in my life as a racehorse breeder. It was the first time South Africa had been invited to participate in the Asian Racing Conference after the democratisation of our politics, and it was also the last time I had the honour of addressing the International Breeders’ Conference in Paris, when we negotiated our first export protocol with the European Union.
Galileo reclaims the money title; with just 10 days left in the year, he has 2016 progeny earnings of an incredible $30,082,927, and once again leads all six black-type categories, with 39 BTW, 71 BTH, 30 GSW, 54 GSH, a mind-blowing 14 Group 1 winners (by comparison, Dubawi, Tapit and North America number two sire Curlin have five each), and 24 G1H. Dubawi is second in Europe, with the earners of $17,886,202.
We hear plenty about Galileo (Ire), and rightly so. He is the stallion of our generation whose influence will be discussed by pedigree aficionados for decades, if not centuries, to come. For as much as I'm glad to be alive and writing about breeding under his reign, I've long harboured a preference for Galileo's erstwhile stablemate Montjeu (Ire), who was lost to us almost five years ago.
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