Prospecting Success

It is not often that we have a posting on this site with a history lesson included but it seems in order after the 2-year-old filly African Skies (TrueNicks A) impressively won the Princess Margaret Stakes (gr. III) at Ascot on the weekend. African Skies is a daughter of the Ashford Stud stallion Johannesburg and is out of the Woodman mare Rababah and looks a filly of considerable scope given she was able to break her maiden in stakes company.

So here is the history lesson: The settlement of Johannesburg, now the largest and most populous city in South Africa, began in 1886, when gold was discovered in the Witwatersrand by an Australian prospector named George Harrison. The discovery spurred a feverish gold rush as fortune hunters from all over the world descended on the area to prospect for riches - and it seems that some 122 years later Johannesburg the stallion has his success inextricably linked to the breed shaping stallion Mr. Prospector.

African Skies is the 19th stakes winner worldwide for Johannesburg and six of these 19 - and quite frankly his best in Scat Daddy, Eaton's Gift, Hamoody, African Skies, La Traviata, and Baroness Thatcher - are out of mares by Mr Prospector, his sons, and grandsons. It makes one wonder if Coolmore had elected to stand Johannesburg in Europe, where Mr. Prospector is not nearly as prevalent in the broodmare population as it is in America, if the stallion would have had as much success as he has to date.

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