For I Come From Australia…

Oh Susanna wins the Group One Sun Met in South Africa

Australian-bred Oh Susanna winning the prestigious Gr.1 Sun Met in January (Liesl King)


While not really attempting to paraphrase a certain politician, there probably has never been a better time to be an Australian-bred racehorse: certainly not on a global stage.

The mighty Winx – on target for her 26th straight success in Saturday’s appropriately named Group One Winx Stakes at Royal Randwick – still reigns supreme at the head of the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings, while Merchant Navy set Royal Ascot alive this year with his memorable Diamond Jubilee victory.

Indeed, Australian bred success stretches to all corners and locally sourced gallopers are now poised to shine at tomorrow’s South African Equus Awards where it’s anticipated high flying, Oh Susanna, will take home the Horse of the Year, Champion Middle Distance and Champion 3YO Filly titles.

If the prestigious Cape Racing & Breeding Awards conducted last Wednesday are any guide, Oh Susanna should be a shoo in as she made a clean sweep of the same titles that night.

She could well have company on the Equus Awards stage as another Australian-bred in Soqrat is a rock solid chance to take out the Champion 2YO Colt category.

Indeed, since Igugu won South African Horse of the Year in 2010/11, Harry’s Son, Majmu, Entisaar and Mustaaqeem have all won juvenile gongs, with other Australian-breds including Whisky Baron, Enaad and Alboran Sea capturing various other titles.

Having raced just the nine times for four wins and three placings, Oh Susanna dominated the second half of the South African season with successive victories in the Paddock Stakes (somewhat fittingly on Australia Day), the Sun Met (becoming the first 3YO filly in over 100 years to win the race) and the Woolavington 2000 – all at Group One level.

Oh Susanna is among 20 Group One winners (122 stakes winners overall) for Darley’s former great, Street Cry and, while the boys – such as Street Sense, Street Boss, Whobegotyou and Shocking all covered themselves with glory – the stallion will surely go down in history as one of the truly remarkable sources of female talent, given that he’s the sire of both Winx and North American superstar, Zenyatta (19 from 20).

Oh Susanna, meanwhile, is out of the Touch Gold mare, Sharp Susan, the winner of six in North America including the Group Two Lake Placid Stakes and is a close relation to Group One winners Spring At Last, Sharp Lisa and Galileo’s 2017 Group One The Metropolitan winner, Foundry.

After being purchased for $2,000,000 by Australian interests in 2008, Sharp Susan would be acquired by Gaynor Rupert’s Drakenstein Stud for $1,050,000 at the 2012 Inglis Easter Broodmare Sale.

Unfortunately, Sharp Susan’s first two foals for Drakenstein – both by Street Cry – would die, while her third, a Bernardini filly, would race in South Africa as Biblical Susan.

“Darley was kind enough to offer us a free return to Street Cry and that’s when the mare came up with Oh Susanna,” Drakenstein’s Racing Manager, Kevin Sommerville points out. “Gaynor Rupert is passionate about her breeding and racing and is very hands on, particularly when it comes to the purchase of bloodstock and planning of matings.

“It’s Drakenstein policy to sell the colts and race the fillies and that’s definitely worked in our favour with Oh Susanna!

“Breeding horses in Australia and then bringing them across to South Africa can be an expensive exercise, but when you have results like this, it’s all worthwhile.”

Certainly worthwhile if there’s a Horse of the Year trophy sitting on the mantelpiece come Tuesday night.

The Shadwell Stud bred and owned, Soqrat, has put himself right in line too for Champion 2YO Colt glory after capturing the Group One Greyville Premiers Champion Stakes at the end of July: his third win (plus a Group Two second) from only four starts.

Soqrat became the first Group One winner for Darley’s exciting 2017/18 first season sire in Epaulette, while the youngster is out of the multiple winning Hussonet mare, Elzeeza, and closely related to Group Two winners Colorado Claire, Gunnison and Moonovermanhattan, along with Group One winning Hong Kong sprinter, Lucky Bubbles. Soqrat’s half sister, Hafaawa, is a 2YO in training with Lindsay Park Racing.


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