You only get one chance to make a first impression and bloodstock agent, Paul Guy, didn’t miss the mark when he purchased a Rock of Gibraltar colt from Dash on Ruby for $40,000 at the 2011 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.
Guy was buying on behalf of successful South African businessman, Laurence Wernars, who had ventured to Australia for the first time in search of four legged flyers.
Fortunately, the colt – subsequently named Rock of Ages – proved to be one for the ages with Wernars subsequently putting the youngster through a Ready To Run in South Africa, only to see the horse win the sale associated race worth R2.5 million.
Consequently, a sizeable number of Australian-bred winners have saluted under the Wernars banner ever since with Guy’s Heritage Bloodstock also responsible for snapping up a Teofilo colt for $80,000 at the 2014 Melbourne Premier.
That colt, racing as Brazuca, spread wings on Saturday night and captured the Group Two Colorado King Stakes (2000m) at Turffontein for Wernars and his trainer, Johan Janse van Vuuren.
“That was Brazuca’s first stakes win, but he’s won five from 14 and been Group One placed on five occasions, including a second in the South African Classic last year, not to mention him being a good thing beaten in the Cape Derby,” Guy explains.
“He was a lovely colt from the Kia Ora draft – really caught your eye – and he’s definitely a horse on the way up. The stable has notified me that Brazuca is now heading toward the Group One Champions Cup at the end of April.
“What’s more, the stable has a promising High Chaparral filly called Being Fabulous who is shaping up to be an Oaks contender. She was purchased out of the 2015 Melbourne Premier, while last year in Melbourne we bought a Fastnet Rock filly for $300,000 that appears to be quite smart too.
“We also bought a Snitzel yearling for Laurence last month and he’ll be out again for the Easter sale next week. He certainly has a liking for Australian bred gallopers!”
It was a big night for the Australian-breds at Turffontein with Redoute’s Choice colt, Mustaaqeem winning resoundingly on debut, carrying the famous Shadwell colours.
Mustaaqeem set Newmarket alight last year when he was knocked down to Shadwell at the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale for $1,750,000 and he lived right up to his wraps over the 1160m, romping home with 7.5 lengths to spare.
From the South African Horse of the Year, National Colour, and a full brother to Group Two winner, Rafeef, Mustaqeem races out of the powerful Mike de Kock stable which was clearly taken with the victory.
“Mustaaqeem is an impressive young horse and he’s been showing us winning work, so we fancied him,” de Kock’s son Mathew enthused. “But that said, he was more impressive on the racetrack than he’s been at home. We’re looking forward to seeing how he develops.”
It’s probably safe to say that Mustaaqeem’s three quarter sister, by Snitzel, will attract a fair amount of interest – and not just from South Africa – when offered at next week’s Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.
HOOFNOTE: Meanwhile, in Singapore, it’s somewhat interesting that the Australian-bred, Lim’s Cruiser, is out of a mare called Hope Downs.
If you’d backed Lim’s Cruiser in Sunday evening’s Group Three Rocket Man Stakes at Kranji, your hopes would have definitely been down with 50 metres to go, but the Casino Prince 4YO burst through the pack to score a memorable victory.
Only lightly raced, this was the Stephen Gray trained first run since capturing the Group Two (Singapore) EW Barker Trophy last November and the flashy bay now has five wins and four placings from 10 starts.
Originally sold for $17,000 by Sun Stud at the 2014 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale, Sun was again entrusted to put the then colt through the Magic Millions National Racehorse Sale where he was knocked down to Mick Dittman for $100,000.