FOLLOWING last week’s retiring to stud of Sheikh Hamdan’s Soft Falling Rain, another Mike de Kock-trained stalwart, Shea Shea, has come to the end of his career. Proven to be among the best of this international generation of sprinters, the seven-year-old gelding will be retired to Mauritzfontein Farm near Kimberley in South Africa’s Northern Cape region.
Shea Shea crossed the line 12th of 13 runners in Friday’s Gr1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Sprint over 1000m at York. He failed for the second time in just a few weeks to deliver his customary powerful finishing effort and was found coughing after the race – like he did after the recent King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.
An hour after Friday’s race, Mike de Kock announced that Brian Joffe and Myron Berzack’s globetrotter would be retired from racing. He said: “Shea Shea won’t race again, this is enough. His bleeding has become an issue and we won’t persist with him any longer. He was a naturally competitive horse, a superb galloper and a consistent, high-class achiever.
“Shea Shea thoroughly deserves to rest and enjoy himself without the pressures of travelling and the testing preparation programmes that go with competing so often alongside the best sprinters in the world. We’ve found him a wonderful home at Mauritzfontein Stud, he will become an honourable resident of their famous paddocks. Jessica Slack and her staff will ensure he gets the kind of care he is worthy of.
“I’d like to convey the stable’s gratitude to Shea Shea’s owners, who have been a pleasure to deal with. We were privileged to see a more personal side of Brian Joffe, whose spirit and joy at the racetrack was heartwarming. Brian loves horses and he always put Shea Shea’s interests above anything else, he suggested and fully supports the horse’s retirement.”
Assistant trainer Steven Jell added: “Shea Shea is a horse of stature. He’s confident and strong and Jessica feels he will be well suited to leading the herds of young horses born and raised on the farm every year. He’ll show them the ropes, he’ll teach them the right manners.”
Shea Shea’s formidable career record shows 26 starts for 11 wins and 8 places. He won three Group 1’s, three Group 3’s and two Listed races and was Gr1 placed four times, earning his owners approximately ZAR 15-million in stakes.
He was a class above his rivals as a young horse in South Africa, winning the Gr1 Golden Horse Casino Sprint as a three-year-old and the Gr1 Computaform Sprint in his four-year-old career. Exported to Dubai and at the peak of his powers in 2013, he won the Listed Meydan Sprint by 2,75-lengths from Sole Power, highly accomplished since, and followed up on Dubai World Cup night winning the Gr1 Al Quoz Sprint.
Shea Shea was bred at Klawervlei Stud. He is by National Assembly’s son National Emblem from Yankee Clipper (Jallad), and will be especially remembered for parading near the winner’s enclosure in Dubai with the South African flag prominently displayed by his regular overseas jockey, Christophe Soumillon.
Shea Shea made South Africa proud.