CONTINUING their policy of only standing stallions of quality racing class, South Africa’s Champion Breeders of the past seven consecutive seasons, Summerhill Stud, have acquired the 122 Timeform-rated son of High Chaparral, Golden Sword. While European racing fans will remember him for his consummate victory in one of the principal Derby trials, the Chester Vase (Gr.3), South Africans and those in the Gulf will recall his rattling finishes from behind in Dubai, where he ran the fastest 2000 metres ever, a record which still stands. It’s arguable though that Golden Sword’s finest moment came in the Investec Derby (Gr.1) at Epsom, where he was beaten a tad over two lengths by the world champion, Sea The Stars. With less than a furlong to go, Golden Sword looked to cause the upset of the decade, as he battled it out with Sea The Stars going to the line.
While it was expected when he first arrived at Coolmore that his dual Breeders’ Cup-winning sire High Chaparral, would bask in the shadow of his much-vaunted paternal half-brother, Galileo, the former’s career to date tells a vastly different story. With six Group One heroes in both hemispheres, High Chaparral became the first stallion since his own illustrious sire, Sadler’s Wells, to have that many winners at the highest level in his first year at stud. Any association with the progeny of High Chaparral immediately reminds us of So You Think, one of the world’s top-rated middle distance horses of last year, yet it’s a tribute to the class of Golden Sword that he is the next highest ranked among his sire’s stock. That he enjoyed the admiration of his champion trainer, Mike de Kock is evident: “Golden Sword was the best horse of a classy generation in my overseas string. At his best, he was a serious international competitor.”
Speaking from Summerhill, head stallion man of twenty-five years, Greig Muir, remarked “Golden Sword is a big, elegant horse much in the mould of So You Think, and provides breeders with a welcome source of one of the most valuable bloodlines in the world. We’re delighted to have ventured here with Drakenstein Stud, Wilgersbosdrift Stud, Moutonshoek and long-time Summerhill client, Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum. In any other year, he might’ve been a Derby winner, and he would not have been in South Africa if that were the case.”