THE joy that heralds new life and the arrival of tomorrow’s champions,who have made their first few tentative steps in the lush green Avontuur paddocks in the past few days, was accompanied by further excitement when new Avontuur Danehill stallion Oratorio produced a Gr1 winner in Germany on Sunday.
It was a matter of just a week ago that we broke the news(SP 1859) of the imminent arrival of the prolific Gr1 producing stallion, Oratorio, on our shores.
The deal followed lengthy negotiations which were finally sealed by Avontuur’s Michael Taberer on a recent whirlwind visit to Coolmore in Australia. While Oratorio will only arrive here in January 2013, the excitement generated by his expected arrival is unparalleled amongst breeders, and he is already fully syndicated – mainly amongst the original groundbreaking, Var syndicate.
Oratorio will stand alongside another much loved champion in Var at Avontuur Estate, on the R44 between Stellenbosch and Somerset West. Anybody who has spent just five minutes in the beautiful surrounds will attest to the fact that this is truly God’s country, when it comes to fine wines and fast horses!
On Sunday Oratorio’s 4yo Irish-bred daughter Temida (out of the Red Ransom mare Interim Payment) scored a second Gr1 triumph in Europe for her sire, when she won the 2400m Gr1 Grosser Preis Von Bayern at Munich. She scored by two lengths beating two well-performed colts to record a fourth win and 3 places from her ten starts. Oratorio has now sired four individual Gr1 winners.
Avontuur General Manager Pippa Mickleburgh was over the moon after Sunday’s Gr1 win: “The lack of depth in the proven stallion ranks is obviously of major concern to us and our commitment to the industry in this new acquisition will go a long way to easing the shortage in 2013. Oratorio’s book is open for 2013 and we already have over 20 bookings, so his popularity is assured,” she said excitedly.
The news comes hot on the heels of the announcement of the births of the first new season foals down Avontuur way. Six of the anticipated thirty-four foals due this year have been born. All foals are owned by the farm, except for three which are held in partnership with friends.
October and November are the busiest months traditionally on stud farms around the country.
Foaling occurs from 1 August to 1 November, and the new arrivals include an exciting new addition to the Avontuur family produced by the multiple Gr1 winning Mother Russia’s full sister Baltic Beauty. As we have come to expect from this no-nonsense family, her beautiful Var filly was born promptly on 1 August!
Other arrivals include a filly by Var out of another top-class Windrush mare in the former Riaan Van Reenen trained A Daughter’s Legacy. She won the Listed Ladies Mile, the Gr3 Victress Stakes and the Gr3 Final Flings Stakes twice in a seven –race winning career that saw her build a reputation as one of the gamest and consistent performers around.
Other foals include Captain Al’s Mochachino colt, a Mambo In Seattle x Alluvial colt, a full brother to the brilliantly fast Twitter(Var x AvianTalk) and a half-brother to Vodacom Durban July third-placed Chesalon by Dynasty. This colt’s mom is the legendary grey daughter of Goldmark, Sarabande, who was trained by Joey Ramsden in a multiple Gr winning racing career and has become a character and an institution in the Avontuur paddocks.
Expected imminently are a foal from Sports Chestnut by Dynasty, the brilliant fast Viva’s foal by Western Winter and then the breathtaking Val De Ra’s full sibling.
The covering season starts on 1 September and runs through until around 27 December.
Var is due to cover 120 mares and Pippa Mickleburgh confirms that his well- being and care is one of her and her personnel’s main objectives over the next four months.
She confirmed that Avontuur send around fifteen of their own mares to the son of Forest Wildcat and the rest travel to be covered by other stallions. “We support most of the leadings sires such as Western Winter,Trippi,Silvano, Dynasty and the new sire Philanthropist. And then there are the young guns like Pathfork,Gimethegreenlight and Bold Silvano. We also provide opportunities to up- and- coming sires like Jay Peg, Rebel King and Mambo In Seattle.”
Avontuur news is never complete without an update on their champion Val de Ra, whom we learn is into her last month in quarantine on Maurtius. She is then off to Newmarket, where she will be based for a few years. Her first covering is scheduled to be with leading European Sire Oasis Dream,and as Pippa quips, who knows thereafter?
The intention is that Val De Ra’s weanlings will be sent back to South Africa to be sold as yearlings. That is if the current export protocols improve, and the idea is that if they are purchased by international buyers, they can leave swiftly.
Pippa Mickleburgh says that if the export protocol has not improved, alternative arrangements may include considerations of marketing the Queen Of Speed’s progeny in Australia.