(Photo : Greig Muir)
Mooi River, South Africa
On the very first day of the 2011 breeding season, September 1, our best bred mare Dancing Gift walked down the valley to Summerhill. It was a really special date - she was the very first South African mare to be covered in earnest by the Gr1 winning imported American stallion Visionaire. The covering went well. He was a perfect gentleman, she stood with grace.
Two weeks later, the mare came in for an ultrasound pregnancy scan. No fetus was spotted so back to the pasture she went waiting for the next cycle. Dr Bronwyn had another look this morning and you could have blown us all down with a feather. There the little blighter was, heart pumping strongly after hiding so well two weeks before. Dancing Gift is very much in foal to Visionaire.
It’s really special for us at Graceland because the stallion was raced in the US and sent here by Team Valor’s Barry Irwin. The respected racing personality who we lunched with at a modest Mexican restaurant in Bluegrass Country the Wednesday before the Kentucky Derby. He told us his 25/1 entry in the US’s biggest race, Animal Kingdom, was a “runner”. And we were on hand in Louisville to shout the green and red colours home on May 7th.
Barry has been a huge supporter of South African racing over many years, helping to put this country’s thoroughbreds on the global map through his campaigning of the wondermare Ipi Tombe and the other Gr1 winners Irridescence and, most recently, Gypsy’s Warning. Sending Visionaire to stud in South Africa is another big vote of confidence in the local industry’s future. All being well, we now have a good chance of helping the stallion’s very first South African foal into this world. A huge privilege for our fledgling breeding establishment.
More good news is that our Kahal mare, Sishebo, has finally ovulated after a month of flirting and three coverings. This time it looks like AP Arrow’s swimmers have a good chance of closing the deal. Let’s hope it’s a similar result for Mallow Rose who visited AP Arrow last week. Like Sishebo’s, hers is rated a 20/20 mating with AP Arrow on G1 Goldmine. Appropriately, perhaps, this morning I was reading how Federico Tesio was such a big believer in mixing the right blood. As the greatest ever breeder put it “certain unions of strains of blood provide almost consistently successful results.” The AP Indy / Mr Prospector cross has been dynamite in America. Sishebo and Mallow Rose are rich with Mr P’s blood so who better to mate them with than one of AP Indy’s best performed sons.
Extract from www.gracelandfarm.co.za