Guest Column: Top Of The Pile

Guest Column: Top Of The Pile

29 November, 2013
– Lisa Barrett

Wise Dan, with Miesque's Approval's half-brother Za Approval finishing a close second. Image: Google Images

The IFHA and Longines list of top racehorses of the 2013 season has just been released, and there are few surprises. The now retired Australian Black Caviar and 2013 Arc winner Treve share the Number One spot as the only females on a list dominated by the males. For South African racing and breeding, the most exciting feature on the list is Wise Dan who comes in at Number three, ahead of the Group One and Group winning colts, Toronado, Dawn Approach, Novellist, Orfevre, Olympic Glory, Game On Dude, Mucho Macho Man and Dubai World Cup and Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom (now at stud).

It’s been a stellar year at the track for the 6YO son of Wiseman’s Ferry, with multiple Grade One victories, and repeat wins in the Fourstardave Handicap (Grade 2) and the Breeder’s Cup Mile (Grade 1) to his credit. As if his racetrack performances were not impressive enough (he won on a variety of surfaces from dirt to turf), Wise Dan is the hot favourite to take the title of Horse Of The Year again, and is once again in contention to become first horse to take three titles twice, though with Game On Dude and Much Macho Man snapping at his heels thanks to their numerous Grade One victories. Last year Wise Dan became the first horse since the great John Henry in 1981, when he took Horse Of The Year, Turf Male and Older Male, and only the fourth horse since Ack Ack (1971), Secretariat (1973) and Forego (1975) to win three Eclipse awards in the same year.

Wolf Power. Image: queensplate.info.co.za

What makes Wise Dan’s latest achievement is his South African connection, through his dam Lisa Danielle who is a daughter of the legendary South African stallion Wolf Power. A one-time winner out of the unraced daughter of Secretariat Askmysecretary, Lisa Danielle has become an important broodmare, producing seven winners from eight starts, including six Graded Stakes victories and winnings of $2,949,080. Besides Wise Dan, she has produced the highly successful and aptly named Successful Dan as well as the stakes-winning Royal Dancer. Her success in producing such quality progeny was rewarded earlier this year when she was named Broodmare of the Year.

Many South Africans will fondly remember Wolf Power who lit up South African racing tracks in the mid 80s with his numerous Grade One victories. Bred by the famous Birch Brothers, Wolf Power went onto to become one of the stars of the racetrack in the 80s, before being exported to Kentucky, USA where he became a moderately successful producer of Stakes winners, with 400 winners from 18 crops and earnings of $25 million to his name. It’s been more than a decade since Wolf Power died, but it’s a fitting tribute not only to a great stallion, but to South African racing and breeding that his grandson should be honoured in such a manner.

Long live the “Grey Ghost”.

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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