Picture: GETTY IMAGES/IAN FORSYTH
Picture: GETTY IMAGES/IAN FORSYTH

The phrase “new kid on the block” has been used countless times by sports writers. Almost certainly for footballer Pele’s debut for Santos at age 15, for Boris Becker’s Wimbledon win in 1985 aged 17 and Mike Tyson’s first boxing bout aged 18.

After last week’s National Yearling Sales in Germiston, there is a new kid on the block in the stallion ranks. He is nine-year-old Rafeef.

When Bloodstock SA had done the statistics, it showed Rafeef had finished in fourth place on aggregate and sixth on average. That is some achievement when your rivals are established sires Dynasty, Silvano and Gimmethegreenlight.

Judged on his pedigree, Rafeef’s popularity with buyers is no surprise. He is a son of world-renowned champion sire Redoute’s Choice, with more than 170 stakes winners.

When he retired to Ridgemont Highlands, Rafeef had won six races including the grade 1 Computaform Sprint and grade 2 Hawaii Stakes. It was a shrewd move by the Robertson stud to add him to their band of stallions.

Mike de Kock, who trained Rafeef, said at the time: “I am most excited about his prospects at stud. I’ve seen stallions leave my yard including Horse Chestnut, Vercingetorix and Soft Falling Rain. Rafeef is very special because he is by a champion stallion from a champion mare and you don’t find that too often.”

Form Bloodstock — once again last week’s leading buyers — obviously liked a Rafeef colt consigned by Avontuur Thoroughbred Farm as they went to R1m to secure the youngster. He has been given the strong name of Thunderstruck.

The colt is the third produce of Avontuur’s Var mare Varikate who won five races including the grade 2 Merchants. Her daughter, Before The Dawn, is a five-time winner.

Form also bought Rafeef’s second top lot bidding R700,000 for a colt consigned by Wilgerbosdrift. Though a late foal, the colt is the second produce of the Captain Al mare Risk All, an own sister to Undercover Agent.

The Hollywood Syndicate struck early in the sale bidding R650,000 for a Rafeef colt out of the Australian mare Fish River. The vendors, Mauritzfontein Stud, came up with another good name, Fish Eagle.

Titanium Racing bought the last lot on the first day of the sale when bidding R500,000 for a son of Rafeef out of the Fort Wood mare Savannah Cat.

Another first day sale was the R425,000 bid for a Rafeef colt consigned by Ascot Stud named Black Cherry. No surprise there was interest here as this is the family of Summer Pudding.

Rafeef, whose first winner was a filly named Bella Chica who won for trainer Ashley Fortune at Turffontein on the final day of last year, stands at a fee of R50,000. There will surely be a temptation to increase this for the forthcoming season.

“We are not sure at this stage — the syndicate will have a meeting to decide,” said Ridgemont’s Craig Carey.

With Dynasty deceased and Silvano retired, the future is certainly bright for Rafeef to challenge the hugely popular Gimmethegreenlight who is four years his senior.

Leading sires by aggregate at National Yearling Sales:

1. Gimmethegreenlight — R20.9m

2. Silvano — R11.1m

3. Dynasty — R7.5m

4. Rafeef — R6.3m

5. Querari — R6.2m

6. Vercingetorix — R6.1m

Leading sires by average at National Yearling Sales:

1. Dynasty — R631,677

2. Trippi — R600,000

3. Silvano — R505,682

4. Gimmethegreenlight — R436,667

5. Vercingtorix — R410,333

6. Rafeef — R334,000

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