Bush Hill Stud held our annual stallion day under beautiful midlands weather, a full house of breeders, owners and trainers were present including the who's who of the South African breeding fraternity - including John Koster and Grant Knowles of Klawervlei Stud and Tom Callaghan of Bloodstock South Africa.
Greeted with sushi and tempura prawns - it set the tone for the fantastic day ahead and the introduction of two valuable new sires for KZN - Dual Gr 1 winner Irish Flame and the most successful son of Danehill to stand in South Africa - the exuberant and Gr 1 producing Toreador. Stallions to follow were Curved Ball, expecting his first foals this coming season - King's Chapel who has an outstanding first crop of South African weanlings and of course Kahal - a magnificent champion sire who needs little introduction.
Warwick Render began the stallion day by welcoming and thanking those who came to the stallion day, and to those who support breeding in KZN. "First off I must emphasise, it is only through the opportunity afforded us by some of the industry’s most prominent owners, along with the support of you the breeders and buyers that we are able to enjoy the privilege of hosting a day like this. Last year we welcomed Shadwell Stud and Klawervlei Stud to Bush Hill and we thank them along with the King’s Chapel syndicate for their on-going support. This year we extend that welcome to Larry Nestadt, and the rest of the Tawny Syndicate and their partners in Toreador and Irish Flame. A huge thank you to all of you once again for affording us the opportunity of standing your stallions and for showing faith in breeding in KZN, it is appreciated not only by us here at Bush Hill but by the entire breeding community in this region."
"A couple of years ago who could possibly have thought that for the first time ever we would have three individual Gr 1 winners retire directly to stud in KZN this year. If ever anyone needed proof of the resilience of the breeders and the loyalty of their supporters I think this would surely provide that. To everyone involved in all of these efforts congratulations, thank you and well done."
The stallion day started off with the tall and handsome Irish Flame entering view, and you can't help but be impressed with this son of Dynasty and his incredible athleticsm. A big dark bay horse with a huge elastic walking stride to match, he arrived and took everything in his stride, walking effortlessly around while the crowd murmured and the clicking of cameras could be heard.
Warwick went on to tell us more about Irish Flame, which he said "is just a horse that you have to stand up and take note of."
"Irish Flame was a great racehorse winning seven races in total, two of them at Gr 1 level, and beating some top horses in the process earning him three Equus awards including the most coveted of all, Horse of the Year, at the end of his three year old career ahead of horses of the ilk of Bold Silvano. A dual Gr 1 winner he beat a field including horses such as Bold Silvano, Noordhoek Flyer, Smanjemanje to win the Daily News over 2000m."
"Irish Flame beat Pierre Jourdan by a massive 9.5 lengths in the South African Derby. He went down by less than a length to Bold Silvano in the Durban July after suffering bad luck in running. His victories also included the Gr 2 Gold Circle Derby and the Politician Stakes. Importantly as we all know the biggest races in South Africa are run at the distances that this horse was at his best over, but to be a good racehorse and to win these types of races you must have some speed and he certainly had that. A fact probably best highlighted by his victories over such top class sprint milers at their optimum distances as Tales Of Bravery, subsequent winner of the Drill Hall, along with Cask, also a G2 winner over a mile, and Super Storm and Feet of Fire both stakes winners."
"He possessed an incredible turn of foot. He unfortunately found the Dubai tracks not to his liking, yet he still placed in the Gr 2 Meydan Al Rashidiya Stakes over 1 800m, then when shipped to the UK he had two starts, winning the second of these over 2200m by 3.25 lengths in good going at Kempton Park - breaking the course record in the process."
"On the pedigree front he is by a Horse Of The Year out of a stakes winning daughter of another Horse Of The Year (Flaming Rock) and from a true South African foundation family - in the Corn family."
"I think the best summary of what his pedigree offers is a quote from pedigree guru himself, Karel Miedema, which is “The female family of Irish Flame, and its major winners, represents everything that has worked for generations in South Africa and as such the sires of the major winners provide important opportunities to return to Irish Flame.” This along with the fact that his pedigree is free of any duplications for the first five generations, which makes him a remarkably easy stallion to mate so many of our mares to."
An enthusiastic and energetic Toreador arrived, dancing around his groom and giving an impressive display of agility. A good-looking stallion with a very muscular top-line, he certainly gives the impression of great strength and speed.
Warwick introduced Toreador. "The most successful son of the mighty Danehill in South Africa to date - Toreador offers KZN breeders the opportunity of using a proven speed sire. He has produced Stakes Performers in every crop to date with an average winning distance of 1300m.
"Some of his leading progeny to date include champion two year colt and winner of the Gr 1 Gold Medallion Link Man. Winner of the Merchants this year was Jackodore, multiple Gr 1 placed and winner of the Strelitzia She’s A Stunner, winner of the Tommy Hotspur and Man O’War sprints Deliver The Power, Gr 2 winner Straight Forward who also ran second in the Gr 1 Golden Horseshoe, and over a bit more ground he has had the likes of filly Las Ramblas who was beaten into second by superstar Igugu in the Gr 1 SA Fillies Classic.
"Add to these successes it is widely believed the best is still to come, because according to The Alchemy by far the best book of mares this horse ever covered were those of 2011, that being the foals born last year.
"One of the best ways to gauge general opinion on an active stallion and a hugely important aspect for all of us as commercial breeders is how his progeny are received in the sales ring, and this is another area where Toreador has excelled - reiterating the high regard trainers and buyers hold him in.
"His combined sales average over the last two years for all his yearlings sold has been just shy of R 180 000, which equates to more than 11.5 times his current service fee of just R 15 000, that has got to be good business in anyone’s book, with his top price this year being R 425 000.
"Consistently a top twenty sire in South Africa, this year he ends the season with only three active sires ahead of him who have had as few runners as he has had."
Warwick handed over to Klawervlei's John Koster to introduce Curved Ball. Curved Ball has let down into a lovely specimen of a stallion after his introduction last year, a good-looking stallion very much in the image of his great sire Fastnet Rock, there are high hopes for the well-bred Australian import who won the Gr 2 Dingaans.
Curved Ball is the first son of Fastnet Rock to stand at stud in South Africa, chosen by Charles Laird who had also selected a number of good-looking yearling colts that have gone onto stud - including the likes of National Emblem, Warm White Night and Rebel King.
His first foals arrive this coming season and they are eagerly awaited after his sires huge exploits overseas. Fastnet Rock covered a record book of mares last year - 391 in total (dual hemisphere), which is a tribute to his fertility and the high regard Coolmore hold of the son of Danehill. John Koster spoke of a comment made by Mr Magnier of the Coolmore operation, holding Fastnet Rock in such high regard he was heard to say that there are three certainties in life - death, taxes, and Fastnet Rock! Fastnet Rock has also produced records at sales overseas this year, with his progeny being in high demand.
John reiterated the fact that we had not seen the best of Curved Ball on the track due to injury, but those that handled the colt during his racing career such as Joey Ramsden said the horse was the best they had ever had in training.
King's Chapel is an imposing and eye-catching liver chestnut stallion by King Of Kings, breeders have reported back that his first crop of foals are exceptional individuals, and another exciting speed prospect for KZN.
Warwick goes on to to introduce King’s Chapel to the crowd. "Another Horse Of The Year title holder, but this time it was in New Zealand. Where at the end of his three year old career he was crowned champion three year old, champion sprinter miler and of course Horse Of The Year.
"A winner of three Gr 1 races over 1200m, 1400m and 1600m breaking the course records on all three occasions he won ten times in all. He was the second highest rated horse in the whole of Australasia after going down a short head to champion Grand Armee in the Gr 1 George Main Stakes in Australia over 1600m.
"He enjoyed fantastic support in his first season at stud here and the quality of his first South African foals born last year ensured this support continued into the 2012 season with him again covering another very good book of mares. Suffice to say I believe every stud who had one of his foals born on it booked mares back to him again last year and many have done so for this season already.
"Having started his career at Stud in New Zealand where he probably never received the support he deserved he has done incredibly well and this past season has been a very successful one for him as he has consistently recorded winners in all of Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, Australia and of course New Zealand, where on their National sires log on number of wins this season there was only one sire above him with as few runners as he had.
"His best horse this season will have been King Montrose who recorded his ninth win in the Gr 3 CJC Stewards cup having competed in two Gr 1 races in the previous ten days. He has also epitomised the versatility of King’ Chapel’s progeny having won over distances ranging from 1000m up to 2000m.
"Interestingly 74 % of King’s Chapel’s winners have won over 1 000m to 1600m with 3% winning at below 1000m and obviously the other 23 % being distances over a mile. He has produced stakes horses of both sexes and over a range of distances and ages from two year olds right up to five year olds.
"Simply the facts are he is a champion racehorse with an abundance of speed. A successful sire of international winners and stakes winners backed by a pedigree far better suited to the South African Broodmare band than it was to the New Zealand equivalent. King's Chapel has had mares from every commercial stud in KZN and his future looks bright indeed."
The sire everyone was eager to see once more - the big and imposing Kahal arrived with a gracious presence and a copper sheen on his beautiful brown coat. He walked into the centre of the show and stood himself up for all to see, lifting his head high - a horse that carries himself knowing that he is a great one.
Fittingly, Warwick introduced the champion sire by saying: "There really isn’t much that needs to be said about the reigning KZN Champion sire that hasn’t already been said or written, other than it really is an honour and privilege to have him standing here.
"It is through what he has achieved that he again has a full book for this season. He is after all the success he is through the support of so many KZN breeders and has done an incredible job of flying the KZN flag for so long. Dare one say his progeny have obviously again played a major part in keeping the champion breeders here in KZN and we congratulate Summerhill on another championship title.
"This season Kahal has recorded seven stakes winners headed of course by his sixth individual Gr 1 winner Love Struck. Incredibly he has had Gr 1 winners from the minimum distance of Gr 1 races in South Africa right through to the maximum Gr 1 distance. Some of his other leading horses this season have been horses like Festival Of Fire, No Worries, Checcetti, Eastern Greeting and just yesterday he added another Stakes Winner with Distinguished.
"Throughout his career, of over sixty individual stakes winners there has been no bias to either sex in his most successful progeny.
"Kahal first broke into the top ten on the National sires log at the end of the 2006/07 season and has steadily progressed up that list since then. It is interesting to see how over the years he has gradually progressed and overtaken some of his contemporaries who were champions in their own right such as Fort Wood and Western Winter. He has held his position in the top five sires for the last four years and for the majority of this season has held onto the third position on the log which is where he finished last year.
Warwick closed off by saying, "He is a champion and a most fitting way for us to close off the parade."
For more information contact Warwick 082 872 7799 or Karin 082 896 4809 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To view the full photo gallery of the day, please visit the following link