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Strength in Depth in the Cape

Although the average – R419,000 against R435,000 – for this year’s Cape Premier Yearling Sale, which is in its infancy on the South African sales calendar, was down very slightly from last year’s inaugural event, the overall picture was of considerable strength in depth. With an extra 51 lots selling, the sale topped the R100 million mark in total sales, with a median of R300,000 matching the 2011 sale. We can also note that this year four lots topped the R2 million mark, compared to three last year, and 21 fetched R1 million or more, as opposed to the 18 that bettered that figure 12 months ago.

With multiple champion sire Jet Master having died in November, there was expected to be a strong demand for his youngsters, and so it proved. Offspring of the son of Rakeen (a Northern Dancer half brother to Rahy, and three-quarter-brother to Singspiel) realized three of the top four prices. Leading the way at R2.8 million was a colt out of the Fusaichi Pegasus (TrueNicks,SRO) mare Our Table Mountain. Bred in the U.S., Our Table Mountain was a listed winner in South Africa and is a half sister to Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. I) victor Artie Schiller (TrueNicks,SRO) and to the dam of Japanese stakes winner Toho Alan. The granddam, Hidden Light, was multiple grade I winner in the U.S. Hidden Light a sister to U.S. grade I winner Prince True, and her dam, another multiple grade I winner, Tallahto, is from the immediate family of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) champ Ferdinand. While the cross of Jet Master with Mr. Prospector line mares hasn’t been a prolific one – although it did produce group I winner Past Master – the mating is interesting in that both Rakeen and the dam of Fusaichi Pegasus are Northern Dancer/Halo crosses, so both having a double of Almahmoud, the granddam of that formidable duo.

Second high-price of R2.6 million was paid for a colt by Dynasty, a son of the highly-successful Fort Wood (himself by Sadler’s Wells out of Fall Aspen) and now a promising young sire in his own right with such as Jackson, who would take the Investec Cape Derby (gr. I) the weekend after the sale. The dam, Something of Value, is by Badger Land (by Codex, by Ribot’s champion son Arts and Letters), who won the Flamingo Stakes (gr. I) in the U.S. and subsequently became a very successful sire in South Africa. Something of Value is a half sister to group II winner Natural Selection, and her dam, the black type-winning Masai Mara, is closely related to the South African Oaks (gr. I) victress C’Est Magnifique. There has yet to be a stakes winner on the Dynasty/Badger Land cross, but his sire Fort Wood has sired a stakes winner out of mare by that broodmare sire.

It took a bid of R2.3 million to secure the second most expensive of the Jet Master’s a colt out of the Shirley Heights mare Mountains of Mist. The colt is a half brother to the black type-winning Fasliyev colt Misty Heights and to Madeira Mist, winner of the Dance Smartly Handicap (gr. III), also the dam of the Canadian International Stakes (gr. I) winer Joshua Tree. Mountains of Mist is a half sister to two stakes winners, including the Lowther Stakes (gr. II) and Princess Margaret Stakes (gr. III) victress Enthused. The granddam is the Coronation Stakes (gr. I) victress Magic of Life, and third dam, Larida, is a multiple graded stakes-winning daughter of Northern Dancer, giving inbreeding to that horse at the top and bottom of the pedigree. The colt is TrueNicks rated A on the basis of the Northern Dancer/Shirley Heights cross.

Just R100,000 less expensive was the Jet Master filly out of Laptop Lady. She is a half sister to international star Jay Peg (winner of the Dubai Duty Free and three other group I events) and to the Lebelo Sprint (gr. III) scorer Cyber Case. TrueNicks rated B, the filly is bred on the cross of Jet Master with mares by former champion South African sire Al Mufti. The union has produced three other stakes winners, including group I winner Little Miss Magic, and is a rather intriguing one, giving the sister and brother Glorious Spring (dam of Jet Master’s broodmare sire Rollins) and Roberto (sire of Al Mufti). Inbreeding to Roberto and a sibling also played its part in the pedigree of the R1.6 million Trippi filly out of Pacific Lights. An Al Mufti daughter out of a mare by Roberto’s brother Mullineaux (so having the siblings 2x2), Pacific Lights was a smart performer, winning five races and taking second in the Port Elizabeth TC Lady’s Bracelet and third in the Goldfields Sprint. Pacific Lights is also a half sister to the Allan Robertson Champions (gr. I) victress Silver Arc. Splitting the two Roberto relative influenced hips was another Trippi, this time a filly out of the U.S.-bred Destination Mars. A five-time winner in the U.S., Destination Mars is by Coronado’s Quest, a horse who is beginning to show himself to be a very useful broodmare sire. The granddam, Destination Mir, is out of California Oaks winner Northern Meteor and is a half sister to grade I winners A Phenomenon and Seattle Meteor, and closely related to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly (gr. I) captress Pleasant Stage. The filly is bred on a Forty Niner/Forty Niner cross, very similar to the one that produced Trippi’s U.S. star R Heat Lightning.

Not surprisingly, Jet Master was leading sire by average, with 22 selling for an average of R776,136. Next in line was Silvano (12 sold, R706,250). A son of Lomitas (German-bred son of Niniski, by Nijinsky II) and the Beau’s Eagle mare Spirit of Eagles, from a family developed by the late John C. Mabee, Silvano won a pair of group I events in Germany, and the Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr .I) in the U.S. One of the best performed racehorses to ever retire to stud in South Africa, to date he’s sired 25 stakes winners in his first five crops, including group I winners Kings Gambit, Aslan, Bold Silvano, Bravura, Flirtation, and Seal. The previously mentioned Fort Wood had four sell for an average of R556,250, while his son Dynasty was also a top five sire here (21 yearlings averaging R402,381).

Trippi, who looks a real loss to the Florida stallion community if not the entire North American stallion ranks given the emergence of grade I winner R Heat Lightning and graded winners Travelin Man, Gourmet Dinner, and Jealous Again since his sale to South Africa, was the leading sire by gross, with 38 of his yearlings fetching R17,750,00, for an average of R538,636. Another ex-Floridian, Tiger Ridge – a Storm Cat half brother to A.P. Indy – proved popular with five of his offspring averaging R445,000. And another from the Storm Cat line that was in demand was Var, a Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp (gr. I) winner by Forest Wildcat who had 17 sell for an average of R394,167. Considered a "fish out of water," being a European turf sprinter with a North American-based pedigree, Var has found that his home in South Africa suits him well, and he is off to a great start with his early crops including the spectacular filly Val de Ra, a three time group I winner who has won 11 of 12 starts, most recently administering a five-length defeat to international sprint star J J the Jet Plane; the Guineas (gr. I) scorer Variety Club; Villandry, who took the Medallion Stakes (gr. I); and August Rush, winner of Mercury Sprint (gr. I).

Others in demand included Captain Al, the leading son of Al Mufti and already sire of group I winners Captain’s Lover, Captain’s Gal, Emerald Cove, and Exhilaration (30 sold, average of 394,167), and the veteran Gone West son Western Winter (16 sold, average of R432,813).

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