SUMMERHILL stallion Visionaire has made a promising start to his stud career as his first crop of just 25 foals, born in the USA, have already delivered a few winners.
The USA-bred chestnut initially stood on one of the smaller Kentucky farms where he was apparently not very well promoted.
He is owned by Barry Irwin’s Team Valor International and two Saturdays ago one of his two-year-old sons, Trident Hero, won by 5,25 lengths on debut over 900m in West Virginia, while a daughter, Bacopa Breeze, won by eleven lengths in her third outing over 1200m, also in West Virginia.
Earlier, he had been represented by California-based two-year-old colt Outlook, whose two career outings have both been in black-type events, and have yielded fourth and second places respectively.
Team Valor also have a Visionaire colt out of the South African-bred Joshua Dancer mare Jacaranda Jane running in America and he has placed in most of his starts and has been fancied in his last three races.
Visionaire is by the Gone West stallion Grand Slam and produced an amazing finish in the stallion producing race, the Grade 1 King’s Bishop over seven furlongs on the Saratoga dirt, when coming from a tailed off position to win by 2,25 lengths.
Other top stallions that have won that race include Forestry and More Than Ready, the latter being the sire of Gimmethegreenlight, the first three-year-old to win South Africa’s most prestigious weight for age mile, the Queen’s Plate, for 39 years.
The Gone West male line has produced South African Champion Sire, Western Winter, as well as other high profile international stallions like Elusive Quality, Mr. Greeley, Zafonic, Zamindar, Speightstown and Visionaire’s own sire, Grand Slam.
Irwin said, “I want to stand a horse in South Africa that I have enough faith in to produce straight-legged foals so that I can breed my own mares. I don’t like overpaying for classy, but sometimes unreliable stallions that produce foals with front legs that are not consistently correct enough.”
“The reason I chose Visionaire is that he is tall, his front limbs are perfect, he has a lot of bone, he was fast enough to sprint with the best, yet he easily got a middle distance around turns in America.
“Even though he was not an accomplished runner at two, he did have the fastest clocking in the two-year-old breeze-up sale in Ocala, Florida. He has plenty of gas.”
Summerhill have commented that Visionaire’s first crop were “really nice” and “have such good size and scope.”
Among the mares that Irwin is sending him this season is the newly retired Listed winner Comtesse Dubois.
Other mares that he will be receiving include Vin Fiz, the dam of the Grade 1 winner Pierre Jourdan, Mntwana, who is a sister to the multiple Graded winner Icy Air, and Candle Princess, the dam of Paris Perfect, who finished third in the world’s richest race, the Dubai World Cup.
He will also be receiving Catch Me, who is the dam of both Phunyuka, winner of the Grade 2 Emerald Cup, and Aces Wild, a five-time winner. – DAVID THISELTON, Gold Circle.