|KZN Links To Dubai Weekend Racing|
Once again South Africa played a prominent part in the Dubai World Cup night on Saturday, with Variety Club winning the Gr 2 Godolphin Mile.
The champion son of Var has links to KZN too – although bred by Beaumont Stud, his dam is a registered KZN-bred named La Massine. The other to feature was Star Empire who placed third in the Dubai Gold Cup, a son of Second Empire who ended his breeding career at Yellow Star Stud under the ownership of Midlands Thoroughbreds.
A strong KZN-pedigree, La Massine was bred by Mr J Jonsson and Mrs L F Russell. The mare is by Secret Prospector out of a Northern Guest mare named Karpakova, and only won a maiden plate at Kenilworth and beating Roman Fantasy in the process – the dam of Roman Charger. Both Secret Prospector (who stood at Aldora) and Northern Guest (Summerhill Stud) were not only champion sires but have gone to prove themselves as top-class broodmare sires too.
Variety Club’s fourth dam Novenna, included progeny such as Secret Rites, a seven-time winner and winner of the Gr 1 Mainstay International.
Ada van der Bent wrote an article extensively on Variety Club’s damline: “To find from where Variety Club has inherited his ability to go a mile, one has to dig deeper into the female family and it is arguably his third dam, the splendid racemare Novenna, who deserves a share of the credit for its latest star performer. Amazingly, albeit that Variety Club is the product of a brown sire and a bay dam, he is a chestnut like Novenna and physically, also bears a strong resemblance to his illustrious ancestress.
“Out of juvenile stakes winner Fidelis, Novenna likewise won at two. Runner-up to Enchanting in the Gr.1 Stuttafords Fillies Cup when hanging badly, she ran straight as a die when a convincing winner of the Summer Champion Stakes and capped her sophomore season with a splendid victory in the Gr.1 SA Oaks. She clearly took after her French-bred sire Hobnob, a son of English Derby second Gyr.
“Hailing from the classic Horama family, Hobnob proved himself a high-class staying three-year-old with a victory in the Dante Stakes, thirds in both the marathon Premio Emanuele Filiberto and the Prix Kergorlay, in addition to which he also finished fourth in Bruni’s English St Leger. His stud record closely resembled that of his track career and he has proved a noted source of stamina, siring additional Oaks winners St Just, LA Law and Summer Line, SA Derby hero Topa Inca and such fine stayers as Gold Bowl winners Royal Line and Big Bentley.
“Significantly, when mated to Novenna’s own sister Hail Mary, Hobnob sired Penance, who placed in both the Natal and SA Oaks and was to became the dam of Carmel Dancer (Dancing Champ), a winner up to 2000m and runner-up in the Gr.2 SA Fillies Classic. Another unraced full sister, Pentecost, produced Gr.2 Dingaans hero Petros, by Round Table’s well-bred son Take Your Place.
“Sadly, Novenna’s career as a broodmare was all too brief, consisting of just three live foals. Retired to stud at the late Guy Landon’s Aldora, she produced as her first foal the Northern Guest filly Karpakova, who was to become the grandam of Variety Club. A liaison with multiple champion Jungle Cove yielded a colt which tragically broke a leg as a foal.
“Mated to resident stallion success Secret Prospector, a well-bred sprinting son of Mr Prospector, she produced her third and final foal, the colt Secret Rites, who proved himself a galloper of immense talent and versatility. Successful in the 1800m Gr.1 Mainstay International, he also placed in such diverse Gr.1 events as the Natal Mercury Sprint (1200m), the mile Schweppes Challenge and Queen’s Plate and the J&B Met over 2000m.
“Karpakova never became her dam’s equal on the racetrack, winning just once over 1200m. She commenced her broodmare career at Aldora with a visit to Secret Prospector, the resultant foal being La Massine, the dam of Variety Club.
“Fidelis, the dam of Novenna, was one of ten winners out of the six-time winning sprinter Rosary, a daughter of the outstanding sire and broodmare sire Joy II, a three-parts brother in blood to English Guineas hero Our Babu. To the speedy Port Merion, Rosary bred two sprinters of note, the colt Archbishop and the filly Amazing Grace. The former became a Gr.1-placed stakes winner, while the latter proved herself as arguably the leading juvenile of her year with a stunning defeat of male rivals in the prestigious Smirnoff Plate (now the Gr.1 Gold Medallion).
“At stud, Amazing Grace produced the speedy, but short-lived Son Of A Champ (Dancing Champ), who landed the Gr.3 Gilbeys Trial and National 3YO Sprint from just six starts. Her placed daughter Gallic Grace, by champion Irish sprinter Gallic League added to the family fortunes when she bred the speedy stakes winner Cruso (Mogok).”
Star Empire, by the late Second Empire(IRE) who stood at Yellow Star Stud for owners Manny and Mandy Testa (of Midlands Thoroughbreds), finished third in the Dubai Gold Cup over 3200m on turf, finishing just two lengths off under the services of Christopher Soumillon.
Trained by Mike De Kock, the eight year old had a two year gap in his career but has still managed to achieve an impressive racing record – winning the Darley Arabian (Listed), placing second in the Nad Al Sheba Trophy (Gr 3) as well as placing third on two occasions in the Nad Al Sheba Trophy (Listed). It was reported by Mike De Kock off his website: “Star Empire was always going to have a big task in the Dubai Gold Cup, but he gave of his best for a good third place, earning Mohammed Khaleel the best part of USD100,000, having also won and earned his way handsomely at the 2011 and 2013 Carnivals.”
Star Empire is out of the mare Lady Maroof by Maroof. Second Empire has has left behind a legacy, with his eye-catching son Tropical Empire(AUS) standing at Yellow Star Stud – whose first progeny are yearlings. Second Empire also carved his name in the history books for different reason – being the sire of 2013 Grand National winner Auroras Encore.
Midlands Thoroughbreds bred the Gr 2 SA Fillies Nursery winner Virgo’s Babe (by Malhub). They bred and consigned the last of Second Empire’s progeny at the 2013 KZN Yearling Sale – in particular a half-brother to Virgo’s Babe. Sadly the colt passed away prematurely before he could see a racecourse.
Congratulations to the winning connections of a successful evening at Meydan.