Bush Hill's Stallion Day took place in beautiful Midlands weather under sunny skies and snow capped mountains, with 130 guests tucking into tempura prawns and sushi on arrival. Warwick Render welcomed the guests before introducing the stallions, with Curved Ball, Irish Flame, King's Chapel, Toreador and Redoute's Promise all making an appearance. "For us this day is not only about showcasing our stallions but also about saying thank you to all of you who have supported both Bush Hill and our stallions in the past year, and as such we will as always, endeavour to make it worth your while in attending today.
Bush Hill's Stallion Day was held on Sunday following the KZN Breeders extremely successful Gold Cup Day at Greyville. The former Chairman of the KZN Breeders Club proudly stated: "On the point of racing [yesterday] I would just like to pass on congratulations to all those involved in what was a truly awesome day for KZN breeding, with us securing three Gr1‘s in a day, don’t let anyone ever question the ability of KZN to produce a good horse!"
Warwick went on to say that he believed that the stallions presented speak for themselves and 'all I can do is highlight some of their most salient points.'
"They are after all a group of horses with unique credentials, the first and only son of Australian champion sire Fastnet Rock at stud in South Africa, the first son of Australian Champion Sire Redoute’s Choice to go to stud in South Africa, the first and only Equus Horse Of The Year son of Dynasty to go to stud in South Africa, The most successful son of Danehill to date in South Africa and an international triple Gr1 winning Horse Of The Year."
Introducing Curved Ball to start, the first and only son of Fastnet Rock to stand at stud here in South Africa,
Curved Ball’s progeny made their first appearances at the sales this year where he largely drew the support and respect he deserves achieving an impressive R120 000 average for all of his progeny sold to date. His top price thus far has been R350 000 off the CTS Cape Premier Yearling Sale in January.
Warwick remarked that "One would have to say a very good return on just an R8 000 service fee. Not surprisingly, Charles Laird who we know rated this horse extremely highly was amongst those to have put his hand up for some of the progeny.
Perhaps some of the following will help to put into perspective just how impressive Fastnet Rock is. He was a champion racehorse and as a three year old was a dual Gr1 winner, a dual Gr2 winner and a dual Gr3 winner and secured the title of Champion Sprinter – his two Gr1 victories coming over distances of 1000m and 1100m.
"Coolmore rate Fastnet Rock so highly that they have put his service fee at a level that even they are not willing to publish.
Coolmore boldly make the statement 'the best stallion in the Southern Hemisphere'. Something I am sure the Arrowfield connections of Redoute’s Choice would debate rather hotly, but we will not complain because as already stated we offer you access to sons of both of these sensational sires right here.
"Fastnet Rock has already sired 21 individual Gr1 winners including two in Europe this season in Qualify and Diamondsandrubies, and his influence spread even further this past week with him capturing his first Graded Stakes Winner in North America with the Irish bred filly Uchenna winning at Woodbine. He has just secured the title of Champion Australian sire again this year and his progeny worldwide amassed stakes of just in excess of $13 million."
Curved Ball represents one of the most potent crosses to Fastnet Rock being out of a Zabeel mare. He hails from the immediate family of such horses as the triple Gr1 winning Melbourne Cup victor Subzero, Gr1 winner Grout and a host of other Gr1 performers.
Curved Ball himself gave every indication that he too was destined for Gr1 success with him placing in his first start, winning his second start and then in only the third start of his career he secured an emphatic length and a quarter victory in the Dingaans which he duly followed up with a victory in the Sea Cottage Listed. Despite suffering what was effectively a career ending injury in the wet in his next start in the Tony Ruffel he still managed a place.
Warwick finishes off with Klawervlei-owned Curved Ball: "It is worth reiterating that during this short career he showed his trainer Charles Laird enough for Charles to rate him as one of the best he has ever had and, interestingly, this was a sentiment reiterated by Joey Ramsden with whom the horse spent a period of time after his year’s lay off to try to recover from his injury.
We are most grateful to Klawervlei for the support of KZN and for standing this horse here."
The next to come in was the impressive and elegant Irish Flame, who has let down into an absolute picture of a stallion as he showed off his exceptional big striding athletic walk he is known for, a son of Dynasty that Warwick Render rates very highly. "I have emphasised that he is a special horse and that you shouldn’t miss out, I am glad to say most of you have listened and supported him, but you know what - I am going to tell you again anyway. This is a horse not to miss out on!"
Irish Flame is the first son of Dynasty to have gone to stud, he is the only son of Dynasty at stud to have emulated his father and achieved the title of Equus Horse Of The Year. One of Highlands biggest advertising points for Jackson is that he is a son of Dynasty who has twice won the Equus outstanding sire award and is also the first 3yo Horse Of The Year in SA to sire a 3yo Horse Of The Year from his first crop to race. And Irish Flame is that horse!
"For those who may be concerned about the supposed lack of speed in Irish Flame I think there is sufficient evidence to say these sentiments are completely unfounded, for the two hottest stallions this year in South Africa at the sales have undoubtedly been Dynasty and Silvano, who have an almost identical stamina rating, and who between them have dominated the big name races this past season."
"These sales results come from Dynasty having produced horses like Irish Flame, Beach Beauty, Jackson, and his two current duelling sons Legislate and Futura. Interesting to note that two of his best five horses were KZN bred and KZN now has access to the best of his sons at stud.
The parallels between Irish Flame and his father are most striking. Dynasty won The Daily News 2000 – Irish Flame won the Daily News 2000. Dynasty won The Cape Derby – Irish Flame won the KZN Derby and the South African Derby, who can forget the sensational manner in which he downed the mighty Pierre Jourdan by a massive 9.5 lengths.
Dynasty won the Durban July at three – Irish Flame was touched off for second, thanks to bad luck in running, in the Durban July at three.
"One can only wonder at what more he may have achieved here had he not gone overseas at this stage, as Mike de Kock conceded the conditions there never suited the horse.
"They both had full siblings that though stakes winners never lived up to what they themselves achieved.
Dynasty’s dam was a one time winner by an unfashionable sire while Irish Flame’s dam was a stakes winner by a July winner.
In short if you can get in you can pay the R250 000 to go to Dynasty or you can go to the younger version right here at home for a fraction. Many of you have visited the farm and seen some of his progeny and I do believe that you would agree with me in my saying this is the year and don’t miss out!"
The big imposing chestnut King's Chapel came trotting in besides his handler, a magnificent specimen who has had his first South African winners. Warwick introduced the Australian born son of King Of Kings: "From a South African Horse Of The Year we move on to a New Zealand Horse Of The Year, also as a three year old. A triple Gr1 winner over 1200m, 1400m and 1600m he broke the respective course records on each occasion. A horse good enough to take on the best in the whole of Australasia he was beaten by a nose in a Gr1 by Grand Armee which meant he was also touched off by this horse from the title of Australasian Champion.
"But as with any sire there comes a point at which we must not measure him only by what he has achieved himself but by the achievements of his progeny and King’s Chapel has given every indication that he has what it takes to make an impact there too. He continues week in and week out to produce results on the international stage, with obviously diminishing representation, just as an example in the last week he has recorded a winner and a third in New Zealand and a third in Australia. Through the course of this season we have seen him continue to record winners in all of Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau and of course New Zealand where his multiple stakes winner King Montrose recorded his 14th victory.
"This to go with his past stakes horses including Gr2 winner King’s Ransom, two year old stakes winner Princess Emmy and all of Boundless Glory winner of 9, 8-time winner King Prawn, 7-time winner Chapel Star, 6-time winner Negotiate, contributing to him amassing earnings of around thirty million to date.
"This season has seen the first of his South African progeny on the track, and we have to be pleased with the start they have made, especially when we consider that though he himself was a stakes winner at two he became an absolute champion only at three – he is after all a grandson of the mighty Sadler’s Wells.
"Reports from many trainers who have his progeny have reiterated this fact and probably the best proof that they are happy with them is that many of these trainers have been back to buy his progeny at the sales again this year – always a very positive sign. 75% of these local runners to have had more than one start have earned cheques and has been represented in a four Stakes races already, including the Gr1 yesterday, but sadly from an impossible draw over a mile at Greyville and coming from 15 lengths back to finish less than 2 lengths out of the money is a run full of merit. With King's Chapel having enjoyed such great support from all of you every season, we believe his future is bright."
"With his first foals due this season, Redoute’s Promise boasts a pedigree that demands respect from any self-respecting Australian and so by all rights should do the same for us as South African breeders", comments Warwick Render. Redoute's Promise is a big, imposing individual with plenty of bone, and aged just five years old he is going to be a real eye-catcher at full maturity.
"His mother, Perfect Promise, was the first and to date the only South African bred horse to win a Gr1 in Australia, this subsequent to her showing her class locally by winning The Cape Fillies Guineas Gr1, the Gr2 Emancipation Stakes and the Diana Stakes, along with seconds in two further Gr1’s and a Gr 2.
"But this is only part of the damline and the woes it caused the Australians because Perfect Promise’s full sister was a filly called Irridescence who in the Gr1 QE II defeated the Australian’s beloved Ouija Board becoming the second South African to win this race after London News did so and reaffirmed all of our beliefs that we had a product in South Africa fit to take on the rest of the world.
"Irridescence proved this by winning in all of Dubai, Hong Kong, UK and America. This after securing the title of Equus champion three Redoute’s Choice himself has been much in the public eye this season with his local Gr1 winners Majmu and Wylie Hall, with these two confirming that this magnificent stallion’s influence is as potent in South Africa as it is elsewhere in the world. Let me remind you that last year not only was he Australia’s champion sire for the third time but the next two slots on the sires log were filled by two of his sons, an unheard of achievement for a stallion in his own lifetime.
"This season has seen him reach some unbelievable milestones with his number of stakes winners now at 123 with 27 individual Gr1 winners, including world champion sprinter Lankan Rupee. He has achieved a staggering ratio of 12% Stakes winners to runners. His progeny have amassed total earnings in excess of $ 113 million. This year saw Redoute’s Choice sell his 65th million dollar yearling.
As I mentioned when talking about Fastnet Rock, Arrowfield counter Coolmore’s claim by saying and I quote “Redoute’s Promise is unquestionably the world’s best sire son of the great Danehill."
The last to arrive is the son of the legendary Danehill, Toreador. "This horse has proven through his life to be the epitome of courage – recovering from what would in most horses have been a fatal injury as a youngster, to not only survive, but to go on to perform admirably through his racing career in Ireland and South Africa.
"Toreador continues to show this courage in his duties as a stallion where he is an absolute pleasure to work with and never backs down no matter how feisty the lass may be, perhaps just a little older and wiser in his approach - no is still never an option. But more importantly it is this thread of heart and determination that he passes on to his progeny; and but for a whisker yesterday his very promising son Prospect Strike would have given him another Gr1 winner, no doubt his day will come.
"Everyone needs a banker in racing and there are few that are more reliable than Toreador both in the sales ring and on the track, a fact borne out by how many trainers supported him with their own mares this last season, something which to me speaks volumes on what they see in his progeny on the tracks.
"Not that it has been hard to see for he has enjoyed a wonderful season and not a week, in fact barely a race meeting goes by without him giving someone a return. He certainly has some exciting prospects in the pipeline this season probably headed up by the likes of Prospect Strike and Laser Star. Little wonder he was again one of the most sought after sires at the Suncoast KZN Yearling Sale this year where he once again proved to have one of the best return ratios on his service fee in the country.
"We can only say thank you to all his connections in choosing to make this horse available to us here in KZN and to all of you who have shown the best form of gratitude possible by supporting him so well and filling his book each season, Toreador certainly deserves nothing less.
Warwick concluded the super stallion day by thanking all who had made the Midlands trip to visit and said: "We are indeed blessed to have these horses here and would just like to express our appreciation to all those connected to them in affording us this privilege, and for making them available for all of you to make use of at very reasonable terms."
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