Guest Column: 30 Years Young

Guest Column: 30 Years Young

04 March, 2013
– Lisa Barrett

Storm Cat. Image: Google Images

Friday marked a rare but important equine milestone, Storm Cat, widely acknowledged as one of the greatest sires of the modern age, turned 30.

Well known for his fiery temperament and handling difficulties, Storm Cat has been a feature of the racing and breeding landscape for so long, that when he was pensioned at 25 in 2008 due to declining fertility, many found it hard to believe that there would no longer be any Storm Cat progeny in years to come.

Born February 1983, Storm Cat hailed from two influential and powerful lines through his sire Storm Bird, a two-time Group One winning son of Northern Dancer, and Terlingua, the brilliant record breaking Stakes winning daughter of Secretariat.

During his racing career, he won the Group One Young American Stakes (now defunct) and came a heartstoppingly close second in the 1985 Breeder’s Cup Juvenile before going to stud. At the peak of his career his fee was a world record $500 000, and he was one of a few stallions who had a 24 hour armed guard.

Storm Cat has been fortunate in being able to sire both brilliant sons and daughters, who have in turn, given us some the most exciting horses of our times. Of his sons, the most famous is undoubtedly Giant’s Causeway; winner of five consecutive Group One races. Based at Coolmore in America, he has in turn sired 22 Group One and 16 Group Two winners in a brilliant stud career so far.

Among them are: 2000 Guineas winner Footstepsinthesand, and Sharmadal, multiple Group winner and European champion two year old of 2004.

The most successful of Storm Cat’s daughters has been Silken Cat, herself a three time winner at 2 and champion filly in Canada. Silken Cat was a potent combination of Mr.Prospector on a Storm Cat mare. The result Speightstown, has proved this with several notable Group wins, including an impressive Breeder’s Cup Sprint (Gr.1) at six.

Already the Leading Sire of 2012 with 20 Stakes winner, 28 stakes wins and 8 Group Stakes winners who have earned him $9.9M in monies, Speightstown has ranked among the top five sires of crops every season, and has been voted by pedigree guru Bill Oppenheim as one of the best “Good Value Sires” for 2011 & 2012.

KZN racing and breeding are extremely fortunate to have several sons of Storm Cat right here in the province: the first of which is Brave Tin Soldier who is based at Summerhill Stud. A $3 million foal, Brave Tin Soldier was a Group Three and Listed Stakes winner; Carpocrates, a world-breaking weanling at the time who sold for $2,4 million as a foal, is a 3-time winner who is based at Middlefield Stud and is also bred on the potent Mr.Prospector/Storm Cat cross; Mogok, KZN stallion of the Year 2010-2011 who stands at Scott Brothers, who in turn, has produced the likes of Orbison, a Group winner, Gypsy’s Warning who was sold for $1.05 million at the 2011 Keeneland November Sale, and The Apache, a multiple Group One and Group winner, who now races with Mike de Kock in Dubai, and who recently won the Al Rashidiya (Gr.2) in Dubai.

Based at Overbrook Farm where he has stood his entire life, Storm Cat has apparently mellowed a bit in his old age, though he still shows some of that legendary Storm Bird temperament from time-to-time. As the old man of the stallion world turns 30 this year, there is plenty to celebrate as he looks back over a stellar breeding career, and his legacy to the world ensures that he will be remembered and celebrated for decades to come.

Lisa Barrett
– Guest Writer

“Lisa Barrett”, her psuedonym, currently works at a stud farm in the KZN Midlands. She is absolutely and totally crazy about horses and every aspect of them. She is fascinated by every aspect of the racehorse business, especially pedigrees and would like to one day write a book on her favourite sire!

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