Goffs Kildare Paddocks may have been enshrouded in fog, but the Frankel (GB) filly out of dual Classic heroine Finsceal Beo (by Mr. Greeley) shone like the star she's bred to be when becoming the most expensive foal to sell in Ireland with a €1.8 million price tag on her head at the Goffs November Foal Sale.
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Here are a few photos for you of some of our mares and foals, both young and older
Avontuur Estate announced the delivery yesterday morning of a healthy, strong filly by Frankel out of their South African Champion Sprint filly, Val De Ra.
This time of year is always so rewarding for a Stud Farm as the season’s foals begin to arrive. This handsome youngster is a colt foal by Golden Sword (High Chaparral) out of our British mare Car Park Queen (Zamindar)
Yes, emotion is everywhere, but it’s the raw, shouty elation or fury kind, not the drippy kind. But I challenge you to set eyes upon a newborn thoroughbred filly foal, with furry ears and tail, taking its first dizzy steps on unfeasibly long legs, and not murmur “Ag shame”. Not possible.
The first foal, a bay filly, by Gr.1 Kentucky Derby and Gr.1 Dubai World Cup winner Animal Kingdom (Leroidesanimaux) arrived at Arrowfield Stud this week. The filly is out of the winning Redoute’s Choice mare Tumble Turn, whose family include Group winner Aliyana Tilde (Snitzel), another who is expecting a foal by the same sire.
Traffic Guard (More Than Ready)
(Photo : Greig Muir)
“Golden Sword and Traffic Guard have wasted no time in impressing
with their first crop of foals.”
Sarah Whitelaw - Summerhill Stud’s well bred and performed young stallions, Golden Sword and Traffic Guard, have wasted no time in impressing with their first crop of foals. Both stallions are by top stallions, and both Golden Sword and Traffic Guard come from powerful female lines.
Dual Derby winner High Chaparral, sire of Golden Sword, has been represented by three individual Group One winners, in two hemispheres, in 2013 - namely Toronado, It’s A Dundeel and Shoot Out.
Golden Sword, a top-class racehorse himself, broke the track record at Meydan when winning over 2000m. He also won one of Britain’s major Derby preps, the G3 Chester Vase, ran second in the Irish Derby, and ran the mighty Sea The Stars to two lengths when fifth in the Epsom Derby. He is from one the greatest families in the stud book, whose members include the classic winning fillies Alexandrova and Chicquita (both, like Golden Sword, descendants of the great Sadler’s Wells), as well as former legendary SA sire Royal Prerogative.
Traffic Guard, who ran sire sensation New Approach to half a length in the G1 Irish Champion Stakes, is one of 117 stakes winners for outstanding sire More Than Ready. From the same male line as Roberto and Sunday Silence, More Than Ready has proved an exceptional sire, whose progeny have won in many countries and over a range of distances. His progeny include three Breeders Cup winners, this season’s sensational US 3 year-old Verrazano and leading young Australian sire Sebring.
More Than Ready has already enjoyed success in South Africa through his brilliant, L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate winning son, Gimmethegreenlight. The talented Traffic Guard, who hails from the family of Gr1 winners Chief Advocate and Erin’s Isle, is out of a mare by the great Zafonic. Zafonic’s daughters have done extremely well at stud, having produced the likes of G1 winners Izzi Top, Zambezi Sun, Vadawina and Zafisio.
Pictured at Summerhill is this strong foal from the first crop of American Gr.1 sprinter Visionaire. Out of the Northern Guest mare Summersault, the colt is a half-brother to Gr.2 Gold Bowl winner Winning Leap and to stakes-placed Gymnast.
(Photo : Leigh Willson)
“THE STALLION WITH ROCK STAR LOOKS”
Ada van Bent reports in the European Bloodstock News that early reports indicate the first foals of Gone West’s Gr.1-winning grandson, Visionaire, are making quite an impact. The former Team Valor colourbearer entered stud at Summerhill Stud in 2011 following a successful racing career, the highlight of which was a breathtaking last to first victory in the Gr.1 King’s Bishop Stakes at Saratoga. Described by stud owner Mick Goss as “the stallion with rock star looks”, the powerful chestnut is passing on those same qualities to his offspring, according to Summerhill spokeswoman Linda Norval: “He has some stunning foals and what’s wonderful is that he’s really stamping them; they are robust, with big bums.”
According to Norval, the stud’s latest recruits, Irish Derby runner-up Golden Sword (High Chaparral) and More Than Ready’s Gr.1-placed son Traffic Guard, have settled in well and have taken to their new careers with gusto.
“Golden Sword has attracted a fine book of mares and is stopping his mares on one jump,” Norval remarked. “We have been pleasantly surprised by the popularity of Traffic Guard,” she added. “He has impressed all and sundry with his powerful good looks and breeders are really putting a lot of thought into the type of mare they are sending to him.”
Editor’s note :Visionaire’s sister, Scarlet Strike, was 2nd Saturday in America’s Chandelier Stakes (Gr.1) behind the season’s unbeaten Champion Two-Year-Old elect, Executiveprivilige. The blood runs deep!
Brave Tin Soldier
(Photo : Greig Muir)
“…THE BRAVE WOULD BE THE POPE.”
“I’ve worked at one of the best farms in the world,
and I’ve not seen better foals anywhere than the Brave Tin Soldiers.”
Annet Becker, Onderstepoort graduate and past manager
Intensive Care unit, Juddmonte Farm USA.
Already booking for 2013.
HEY BOET, GET YOURSELF A “BRAVE”!
Visionnaire, Visionaire… Visionary
(Image : Lancome / Summerhill Stud)
VISIONNAIRE, VISIONAIRE… VISIONARY
We don’t know where his name came from, though there may be a connection between Vision Racing and the cosmetic product, Visionnaire (owned by Lancome), but one thing we do know, is that there are some far-sighted investors in the American weanling market. This past week, the first of our new resident sire, Visionaire’s foals went under the hammer at Keeneland, coming away with an average in excess of R300,000 (ahead of the likes of champion Pioneerofthenile, Group One heroes Kodiak Kowboy and Cowboy Cal, as well as Coolmore’s (Ashford-based) Dunkirk, which gives you an idea of the quality of our man’s foals. We don’t have any pictures from the sale itself, but we do have one of a foal we saw ourselves during our trip to Kentucky earlier this year; clearly, the winner of America’s greatest “stallion-maker” is stamping his image on his progeny.
Nothing in this game is 20/20, as we all know, but this is as encouraging a start as you could ask for.
Brave Tin Soldier Foals
(Photos : Leigh Willson)
“Big, Brave, Brilliant… and Bloody nice foals!”
In the 2011/2012 edition of the Summerhill Sires Brochure, we posed the same question. The opening paragraph went something like this “hot stallions are the prime currency of the horse trade. They triumph over Wall Street crashes and lift rough mares. Their very names tempt buyers into abandoning price limits arrived at so carefully, so clinically in the calm of the hotel room the night before. So how do you pick them?”
If you’re looking to identify them early on in their careers, the tell-tale signs lie in the most obvious of places, and that’s with their foals. A good spread of good foals is a strong indicator of good runners, and while its not fail-safe, it’s got to be at least 16/20. That’s about as good as odds get in our game anyway, and the astute student will spend his time scouring the paddocks of farms with freshman sires on their rosters, or engaging in “fireside” chats with people who have their noses and ears close to the ground.
About the best sign is when the management of the farm (or better still, the broodmare manager) starts switching their own mares to the stallion. That’s exactly what Annet Becker, who runs the menagerie of mares at Summerhill, has done in the case of Brave Tin Soldier.
We guess you can change the adage. “Big, Brave, Brilliant… and Bloody nice foals!”.
It’s Raining Champions
(Image : Westmimom/Deviant/Nick Goss/ERA)
“The first rain of the Official New Spring”
Summerhill CEOThe onset of Spring heralds the transformation of our neighbourhood. Suddenly there are new buds, there’s a profusion of greenery and there is a feeling of new life. Last night was the first rain of the official new Spring, and if you’ve never been in a thunderstorm, this was a baptism of fire. A cacophony of flashes and strikes, and the ominous roll and clash of big thunder. Where I live, I’m on a par with the clouds, and we have a front row seat in the eye of an advancing storm. There’s nothing quite like a Midlands thundershower. It might be spectacular, but it’s also unnerving, and a visit to the kitchen, the nerve centre of electric points, where just about every plug in the place is hitched to an appliance, can be quite petrifying. It’s like entering a mixture of a bingo hall and an Imax theatre, with flashing lights and crashing sound effects.
But it’s not only raining cats and dogs, it’s also raining champions at Summerhill. The past ten days have witnessed the arrivals of brothers and sisters to Pierre Jourdan, Hear the Drums, Icy Air, and Amphitheatre, as well as to international celebrity, Art of War, and there are many more to come. Imagine waking up to these happenings, and getting paid for it as well!
The foals are arriving…
(Photos : Leigh Willson)
“…1st of August is the statutory birthday
of every member of the breed in the
We’ve never quite understood why the regulating authorities (or Jockey Club’s, as they are popularly known,) of the world decreed such unseasonal birthdates for thoroughbreds. The 1st of August is the statutory birthday of every member of the breed in the Southern Hemisphere, while the 1st January marks the occasion in the Northern Hemisphere. In nature, animals are programmed to calve or foal in the season of abundance, which is the time of warmth and usually moisture, the most conducive conditions for raising offspring. That means, in an environment such as that of the racehorse, foals in our part of the world should be landing in numbers in November, December and January. Man’s interventions demand that we start foaling around the 1st August, and if you live in Mooi River, you only have to look up from your desk to see a snow-laden Drakensberg in your back garden, and temperatures on your way to work that regularly read -3º or -4º C.
So we’ve had to devise ways and means of assisting in the process. Nature is a powerful intervener in herself, and has her own ways of upsetting the process, if you don’t take measures to massage her. We’re lucky in our region, because we have a generous environment and a wonderful climate, which ensures that, if you have the infrastructure, you can guarantee your mares an assimilation of conditions which is as close to spring as you can find. Summerhill has more than a 1000 acres under irrigation, and that ensures a bountiful stock of emerald green oats, ryegrass, fescue, cocksfoot and clover in a variety of forms, and we have our heating systems in our stable blocks to assist the mares in the belief that this is indeed, an appropriate time to deliver.
We have a busy season ahead, so it’s no surprise then that we already have six bonny youngsters on the ground. No, no Brave Tin Soldiers yet, as he only arrived well into September last year, and as a result, his first progeny are only anticipated in the third week of August. We have a team of 14 (including our night watch team) on foaling duty this year, headed up by the Broodmare Division’s Manager, Annet Becker, Ilze Schmidt, recently promoted Delani Mtshali, our seven students from the School Of Excellence (all accomplished in their own rights), Sam Thomson who comes to us from an endurance horse stud in Australia, as well as Izzy Obolensky from the UK. They’re as fresh as daisies at the moment, but “Black Monday at Black Rock” as it was known in the old days at the height of the season, comes on the 21st October (three months after people have been up and down several times at night catching the foals), and their eyes are out on stalks. That’s when the “happiness” acid test kicks in.
As a matter of interest, for those who are relatively new to what happens in the season, like their cousins in the wild, thoroughbreds foal the vast bulk of their progeny in the dark hours, and that has to do with the predator factor. Unlike human beings, animals are on their feet within hours of foaling (usually within 40 minutes, in the case of a racehorse), and so by the time we get to our morning meeting around 7am, the reports are already in, and the foals are in prancing mood.
It’s hard to beat life at Summerhill from now thru’ December. This is the season of expectation, when the fruits of our plans come together. Do yourself a favour. Come and see us, but if you can’t, go to our Facebook page and keep up with the team.
Click above to watch a video tribute to Vodka
(Image : Fin Powrie - Footage : YouTube)
SEA THE STARS (IRE) - VODKA (JPN)
Seven-time Group 1 winner and highest-earning female racehorse of all time Vodka (Jpn) (Tanino Gimlet (Jpn)) has given birth to her first foal, a brown colt by champion Sea the Stars (Ire) (Cape Cross (Ire)).
The foaling occurred Monday morning at 9:55 am at the Aga Khan’s Studs in Ireland, where Sea The Stars stands since being retired to stud last year. The colt is reportedly a “lovely strong foal, with good scope,” and both individuals are doing well. Mr Yuzo Tanimizu’s mare will return to Sea The Stars this season.
Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News
Mare and Foal
(Photo : Leigh Willson/Summerhill Stud)
If Thoroughbred breeding were merely
a numbers game…
If Thoroughbred breeding were merely a numbers game, it certainly would be a whole lot easier. But there’s more to the business than just the sciences of farming and genetics; there’s an art element as well. Sometimes a gut instinct guides a breeder to select a certain stallion or to give a mare one more chances.
However, many statistics are valid, and there now are some hard numbers that can be tacked on to the adage of “breed the best to the best and hope for the best.” Mares that had success on the racetrack, especially at the highest level, are more likely to produce stakes winners than less successful mares according to a new study. And contrary to conventional thinking, a first foal is usually not a mare’s best.
These are among the findings of a study that also points out :
- Foals from grade 1-winning mares earn more than 2-3 times the average and are more than five times more likely to win a grade stakes than the norm.
- Foals from graded stakes-placed mares earn more and have a higher stakes-winning percentage than non-graded stakes-winning mares.
- Foals from unraced mares outperform foals from non-winning mares in the key categories of percentage of stakes winners, percentage of graded stakes winners, and earnings.
- Overall, foals that come after a barren or missed year underperform against the norm.
The programming team at The Blood-Horse compiled these numbers based on the racing success of broodmares and attempted to quantify the level of quality of foals they produced. They also took that same sample of mares and looked at the quality of foals they produced after a barren or missed year. Perhaps most importantly, they took the same pool of mares and foals and sorted them by their birth order to see if there was any correlation between the quality of early and later foals. The population used in the study consisted of 65,196 mares that produced a foal in North America in 1998, 1999 or 2000. Their entire produce records (foals before and after) were then used for the study - a total of 407,812 foals - more than enough to get an overall picture of measuring class.
When this information was then shared with breeders large and small, more commercial and more home-based, their opinions were as follow :
“My first reaction is that I need to be even tighter on my selection process,” said Dede McGehee, a veterinarian and owner of Heaven Trees Farm near Lexington. “It’s pretty straight forward : Buy and breed stakes mares.”
“Your greatest chance of scoring a grades stakes horse is out of a graded mare,” said Dr. Charles Kidder, who in partnership with Nancy Cole operates Corner Woods Farm near Lexington, “However, looking at the percentage of unraced mare production, that’s how somebody in my scale has been able to develop a broodmare band by buying half-sisters, raced or unraced, to graded mares. My thought is those mares in that ‘unraced’ field in the study are a high percentage of those better pedigreed mares.”
Perhaps it’s conventional wisdom, perhaps it’s an old wives’ tale, but there is the notion that giving a mare a year off from producing a foal will make for a better foal the following year. In the study, however, the overall stats for foals delivered after a barren or missed year are generally down across the board.
The figures were a surprise for Clifford Barry, the farm manager for Josephine Abercrombie’s Pin Oak Stud near Versailles, Kentucky. “The results of the foals from a barren or missed year were different than I would have expected,” he said. Others thought the figures made sense. “Coming back the next year, it seems some girls are much harder to catch (get in foal), and it takes more than one breeding,” McGehee said.
In another subset from the original data pull, the foal population was sorted by order of birth. This chart definitely drew the most comments from the horse people we shared it with. Two areas drew the most attention. First the higher “quality” of the second, third and fourth foal, in terms of stakes-winning percentages and average earnings, which were significantly higher than that for the first foal; and second was the drop off in all key statistics as the birth order from the mare increased, specifically around the 10th foal.
It’s all a numbers game, and you’ve got to play the odds,” said Mark Taylor of Taylor Made Sales near Nicholasville, Kentucky, the largest seller of bloodstock in North America. “I see a percentage of first foals that are smaller. It’s almost like the mares’ reproductive space inside her is a little cramped on that first foal and the foal doesn’t have quite the room to develop in and ideal atmosphere. There are a lot of really good mares on the farm whose first foal was a good foal in terms of bone and substance and quality, but it just lacked size.” Kidder concurred.
A myriad of factors could explain the drop in quality as the birth order increases. Taylor pointed to a key component: “The huge part of the equation is the mare is only 50% of the genetic puzzle, and usually theses mares are getting the best stallion the breeder can afford to breed to them right off the bat. A lot of these mares, once they get up to say, 12 years old, and if they haven’t gotten a stakes horse yet, the quality of stallion they get bred to drops way off the chart.”
The commercial viability of yearlings out of older mares can be backed up by a comment from Taylor regarding results from the last September Yearling Sale at Keeneland where Taylor Made was the largest consignor. “I was looking down our ‘RNA’ (reserve not attained) list, and there was a disproportionate number of yearlings that were out of old mares… 16-years-olds and up,” Taylor said. “It’s definitely out there in the marketplace. If you have two horses and one’s out of a 5-year-old mare that’s a graded stakes winner and one’s out of a 18-year-old mare that’s a graded stakes producer, the foal out of the younger mare has less of a stigma attached to it. You also have to take in the environment the horse was raised in, including nutrition, pasture, exercise, and general horsemanship,” he said. “As a mare decreases in value, all those other variables tend to slide down as well.”
As an asterisk to any studies regarding the breeding of Thoroughbreds, good horsemanship and luck have to be factored in. Cold, hard numbers are OK to look at and discuss, but there’s more to the industry than just the facts.
Extract from The Blood-Horse
“Mare and Foal photos from the farm…”
With Christmas fast approaching, we thought we’d share a few mare and foal photos from the farm. Click above to view a gallery of photos taken by resident Summerhill photographer, Leigh Willson.
Admire Main - Stolen Beauty by Muhtafal
(Photo : Leigh Willson)
Admire Main - Stolen Beauty
We said we’d supplement our shots of Admire Main’s first foals. Here’s another, out of a four-time winning daughter of Muhtafal, Stolen Beauty. With parents with names like these, the outcome is hardly surprising.