The Australian First Season Sires premiership ended with a whimper rather than a bang with a blanket finish and a raft of underachievers leaving many breeders scratching their heads, but in South Africa the First Season Sire division has been dominated in spectacular fashion by an Aussie bred Group I winner in Gimmethegreenlight.
It doesn’t seem long ago that I was writing stories about exciting More Than Ready (USA) colt Gimmethegreenlight, who was racing up a storm in South Africa.
A $155,000 Magic Millions Weanling purchase from the Vinery Stud draft for Hassen Adams on the advice of renowned bloodstock agent James Bester, Gimmethegreenlight emerged as a top class performer for the Justin Snaith stable
He won six of 13 starts from 1000 to 1600 metres highlighted by a Group I win in the Kenilworh Queen’s Plate and posted two other Group I thirds and two Group I fourths.
Retired to Varsfontein Stud, Gimmethegreenlight has proven a sensation siring 14 first crop winners last season including Gunner, winner of the Group I Premier’s Champion Stakes at Greyville on Sunday and Hack Green, who won the Group II Umkhomazi Stakes at the same meeting.
Throw in another stakes horse in Skip the Red and you can see why this Aussie bred stallion is the talk of the South African breeding industry.
Hack Green got the ball rolling when he spreadeagled his field to win the R300 000 Gr2 Umkhomazi Stakes in dazzling style.
While there was more to come for the Australian-bred stallion later on with Gunner, the Dennis Drier-trained Hack Green will go into the record books as Gimmethegreenlight’s first stakes winner – and what an impressive showing this was.
“I know there are a lot of 2yo’s who are yet to run but I thought we have a bit of a star on our hands and I would have been disappointed if he had not delivered today,” Drier said.
The leaders came under pressure in the sticky going early in the straight and the standout was Hack Green who was going great guns down the middle.
At the 200m marker the result was in the frame as the usually animated Veal sat still with Hack Green full of running. He went on to win by 3 lengths in a time of 72,20 secs.
Hack Green, who has won two from two, took his stakes to R237 000, excluding the BSA Added Value Stakes incentive of R102 500.
The winner is the result of an astute mating.
His sire, a Gr1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate winner, is a son of More Than Ready and has pedigree similarities with two of Australia’s top sires –Sebring and Redoute’s Choice.
Hack Green’s dam Secret Mission (by Fort Wood) is a full sister to Secret Heart, dam of Pluck – also by More Than Ready.
A present day stallion in Australia, Pluck won the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile for Team Valor and his first crop are now 3yo’s.
A superb individual, clearly stamped by his champion sire More Than Ready, Gimmethegreenlight was bred by Hunter Valley breeder David Bentata and is a half-brother to his Group I ATC Coolmore Classic winner Ofcourseican.
The dynamic Group I winning duo are from the very good Canny Lad producer Yes She Can Cancan, whose only other runners are stakes-placed Lucky Can Be, La Goulue and Longma.
Sadly for Mr Bentata, Yes She Can Cancan died in 2012, but her star daughter Ofcourseican is still in his ownership and is due to foal to Pierro this spring.
The success of Gimmethegreenlight is another feather in the cap for Vinery Stud’s champion sire More Than Ready, who has already hit his stride in Australia as a sire of sires through his Golden Slipper winning son Sebring, now a leading sire for Widden Stud.
Judging by the flying start made by Gimmethegreenlight, he may well be the one that got away for Aussie breeders
Super Sunday proved to be the cherry on top of a cracking season for Varsfontein’s newly crowned SA champion freshman sire, Gimmethegreenlight.