Picture: 123RF/ MELORYS
Picture: 123RF/ MELORYS

The decision by Ridgemont Highlands — one of the country’s leading studs — to send an extra 17 yearlings to the De Grendel Cape Premier Sale on March 14 has given the event a boost.

Before their announcement, the Robertson-based stud had 10 yearlings out of a total of 185 headed for the sale, which is being held for the first time on the De Grendel wine estate.

Craig Carey of Ridgemont Highlands told the Sporting Post that “the moving of the Premier sale from January to March gave us an opportunity to prepare more horses for the sales ring.

“Also, considering the Covid-19 regulations it makes sense to do business as close as possible to our home base and avoid having our staff travelling upcountry with our yearlings. We are excited to offer our main draft of yearlings for 2021 at the Cape Premier Sale.”

Carey added: “These yearlings include colts and fillies by our resident stallion Canford Cliffs who has produced some magnificent foals, two colts and a filly by Rafeef, a stallion who has landed running, as well as two outstanding Dynasty colts — one bred from six-time winning stakes performer Starzene, a full-brother to African Night Sky.”

The latter yearling looks certain to fetch a big price if his confirmation matches his pedigree as African Night Sky — an inmate of the powerful Justin Snaith stable — has turned in some good performances including finishing fifth in the 2018 Durban July.

It is interesting to note that a number of the stud’s sale yearlings are out of overseas mares — of the three Rafeef yearlings already catalogued two are out of Irish mares and the other an Australian. Two of the Canford Cliffs yearlings already entered are out of American and Australian mares.

Obviously, and understandably, the stud considers Australia to have some of the best bloodstock in the world and they went to A$420,000 (R1.6m) to secure a daughter of Foxwedge at the Inglis Easter Sale in 2017.

That investment has paid off with Run Fox Run winning eight of her 11 starts with her first grade 1 success coming in the Cape Flying Championship at Kenilworth on Met day. The win provided jockey Anton Marcus with his 108th grade 1 victory.

Ridgemont Highlands’ Craig Kieswetter was understandably over the moon with Run Fox Run’s performance (she stopped the clock at 57.74 sec) and said: “At Ridgemont Highlands we are always striving for excellence. It’s a fact that reaching the top in the thoroughbred breeding industry is a process of selection, application and investment — peppered with a bit of luck along the way.

“A proud asset for our brand, Run Fox Run has been a stalwart of consistency and courage and she has formed a lethal partnership with Anton Marcus and Greg Cheyne,” said Kieswetter. Marcus has won six times on the mare and Cheyne twice.

The racing media has been speculating whether trainer Brett Crawford’s star will travel to Durban for their season but — with the breeding season some way off — there seems no reason she should not make the journey and add to her winning tally.

Whether five-year-old Run Fox Run retires at the end of the season also remains to be seen, but one would think she is likely to be mated with Canford Cliffs who retired having won three grade 1 races — the Queen Anne and St James Palace Stakes at Ascot as well as the Irish 2000 Guineas.

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