IT may have come a month later than usual, however, the time-honoured Gold Cup meeting will go down in history as a triumph for the farm, with no less than a Gr.1 double featuring amongst the four Graded stakes races going the way of Varsfontein-bred or sired contenders.
Master Of My Fate’s Gr.1 winning son Tempting Fate put his unbeaten record on the line in the Gr.1 Premier’s Champion Stakes, but alas, a deep draw proved his undoing. No matter though, his Varsfontein-bred paternal half-sister Sentbydestiny saved the day when she made up all of ten lengths in the straight to dash home in style and become her sire’s second Gr.1 winner.
A wide draw in the Thekwini prompted the decision to switch her to the Premiers and my, how it paid off!
Remarkably, Candice Dawson’s charge is only the third filly in 45 years to have beaten male rivals in this elite event and finds herself in exalted company, these being the mighty Roland’s Song (1988) and champion Arabian Lass (1996)!  
She is the first Gr.1 winner amongst five stakes winning daughters produced by our grand Badger Land mare Princess Tobin. She died in 2018, but we are fortunate to have her Gr.3 Debutante winner Princess Peach as well as Sentbydestiny’s full sister American Princess, who likewise showed her male rivals a clean pair of heels in last season’s East Cape Derby!
Sentbydestiny was snapped up for a mere R80,000 at the 2019 National 2YO Sale, which goes to show that one can still pick up a potential Gr.1 winner without breaking the bank!

Undefeated Anything Goes on her way to Gr.1 glory.

Sentbydestiny’s former paddock mate Anything Goes made her stakes debut in the Gr.1 Thekwini Stakes as an unbeaten three-time winner and she kept that splendid record intact with a gutsy neck victory over Gr.1 Allan Robertson third War Of Athena. Anything Goes won in the silks of Ian van Schalkwyk, as did our former star Surcharge (now Yulong Prince). He races the daughter of Var in partnership with Anton Marx, for whom this was a first Gr.1 success.
Fate dealt us a cruel blow when we lost her dam Dance Domain, who showed little on the track, but produced two stakes winners from her first two foals. The filly’s year-older sibling Green Laser landed last season’s Gr.3 Sea Cottage Stakes and was also the meat in the sandwich of Gimmethegreenlight’s epic trifecta in the Gr.1 SA Classic won by Got The Greenlight.
Anything Goes joins our Champions Promisefrommyheart and Along Came Polly as the third Varsfontein-bred winner of the Thekwini and as an undefeated Gr.1 winner, looks a live contender for an Equus award!


Another stakes success for our Erik The Red.

ON a retrieval mission following two below-par efforts, our homebred Erik The Red bounced back with a hard-fought win in the Gr.2 Umkhomazi Stakes.


After losing a shoe on the way to the start, the son of Captain Al showed great heart to gain the upper hand late over favourite Garrulous (Byword) in a thrilling run to the line.
It was a fifth success for the Western Cape’s leading juvenile, who arrived in KZN with an impressive four-race haul to his credit which included the Gr.3 Cape of Good Hope Nursery and was capped by a four-length romp in the Listed Somerset 1200.
Out of our Gr.1 winning mare Covenant, the strapping bay is named in honour of Susan and John’s Viking heritage, for the day before his Gr.2 win was the 100th anniversary of their grandmother Stefanie Fryland Clausen’s fine feat at the 1920 summer Olympics. She became the first Danish woman to win Olympic gold by winning the 10m diving platform when only 20 years old.
Our thanks to the Snaith team for honing Erik’s juvenile talent. May he continue to build on his already impressive record and eventually return to Varsfontein as our next stallion!


Ecstatic Green comes home clear of her field

GIMMETHEGREENLIGHT’S Gr.1-placed daughter Ecstatic Green justified her cramped odds with an emphatic first stakes victory in the Gr.2 Debutante Stakes. The Chris van Niekerk colour bearer came from just off the pace and motored to a facile 2.5-length win.
It was just reward for the Sean Tarry-trained filly, who was beaten a whisker in the Gr.1 Allan Robertson and ran out of her skin against the boys in the Gr.2 Golden Horseshoe to finish fourth, a shorthead behind Erik The Red.
Gimmethegreenlight further stamped his authority on the race with daughters Fiftyshadesdarker and Thumbs Up finishing third and fourth respectively.
Hats off to Karoo breeder Schalkie van der Walt for breeding this fine filly, who incidentally, hails from the same Soho Secret family which has given us Promisefrommmyheart, Master Of My Fate, Covenant and now Erik The Red!


The 2020 foaling season is gathering momentum and amongst our early foals is this charming filly (above), the second foal of our champion Bela-Bela. Whereas Bela’s first foal was a grey like her mom, this filly takes after her sire Gimmethegreenlight, who once again counts Bela amongst his book of mares this season.

Master Of My Fate is the sire of this upstanding little chap (above), whose dam Little Genie is a dual stakes winning daughter of Judpot.