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Alec Hogg



Visionaire Stallion
Visionaire Stallion


(Photo : Greig Muir)


Mooi River, South Africa 

Alec Hogg - Graceland Farm
Alec Hogg - Graceland Farm

Alec Hogg

Graceland FarmOn the very first day of the 2011 breeding season, September 1, our best bred mare Dancing Gift walked down the valley to Summerhill. It was a really special date - she was the very first South African mare to be covered in earnest by the Gr1 winning imported American stallion Visionaire. The covering went well. He was a perfect gentleman, she stood with grace.

Two weeks later, the mare came in for an ultrasound pregnancy scan. No fetus was spotted so back to the pasture she went waiting for the next cycle. Dr Bronwyn had another look this morning and you could have blown us all down with a feather. There the little blighter was, heart pumping strongly after hiding so well two weeks before. Dancing Gift is very much in foal to Visionaire.

It’s really special for us at Graceland because the stallion was raced in the US and sent here by Team Valor’s Barry Irwin. The respected racing personality who we lunched with at a modest Mexican restaurant in Bluegrass Country the Wednesday before the Kentucky Derby. He told us his 25/1 entry in the US’s biggest race, Animal Kingdom, was a “runner”. And we were on hand in Louisville to shout the green and red colours home on May 7th.

Barry has been a huge supporter of South African racing over many years, helping to put this country’s thoroughbreds on the global map through his campaigning of the wondermare Ipi Tombe and the other Gr1 winners Irridescence and, most recently, Gypsy’s Warning. Sending Visionaire to stud in South Africa is another big vote of confidence in the local industry’s future. All being well, we now have a good chance of helping the stallion’s very first South African foal into this world. A huge privilege for our fledgling breeding establishment.

More good news is that our Kahal mare, Sishebo, has finally ovulated after a month of flirting and three coverings. This time it looks like AP Arrow’s swimmers have a good chance of closing the deal. Let’s hope it’s a similar result for Mallow Rose who visited AP Arrow last week. Like Sishebo’s, hers is rated a 20/20 mating with AP Arrow on G1 Goldmine. Appropriately, perhaps, this morning I was reading how Federico Tesio was such a big believer in mixing the right blood. As the greatest ever breeder put it “certain unions of strains of blood provide almost consistently successful results.” The AP Indy / Mr Prospector cross has been dynamite in America. Sishebo and Mallow Rose are rich with Mr P’s blood so who better to mate them with than one of AP Indy’s best performed sons.

Extract from



National Yearling Sale '09 Update

charles laird (heather morkel)Charles Laird at the TBA Sales Complex, Gosforth Park, Johannesburg
(Photo : Heather Morkel)


Look, let’s not forget, this is only a news flash reflecting just one night’s business, but on the face of things, a horse sale which is only 21,7% off last year’s record highs, given the state of the international economy, has to be a good result.

With international bourses down 40-50% and our own stock market in a 30% retreat, you’d have expected at least a similar outcome at the Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale. But those who tuned in to Alec Hogg’s interview with Summerhill’s Mick Goss on Moneyweb’s business affairs programme last evening, would have been buoyed by the news of the number of “wannabe” buyers parading through the TBA’s sales complex at Gosforth Park, in the days leading into the sale, and his prediction that the “ponies” would outperform the market.

Like the three kings of biblical fame, they’ve come from the UK, the USA, Hong Kong, Australia, France and Singapore, to pay their respects to the cream of South African breeding, and from what we’ve heard, they’ve not been disappointed at what’s on show.

In the end, an average of R306 500 was a pleasing return, especially in the light of the fact there were only three millionaires in the evening to influence matters, and nothing approaching R2million.

Battle of the night, despite a top price of R1,5million, was the right to own the Spectrum half sister to Warm White Night and dual Gold Cup hero, Highland Night, in which the formidable combination of Markus Jooste and Charles Laird finally prevailed at R1,3million.

What is evident thus far, is that the gap between the progeny of the big three sires and those of the next tier, is no longer so glaringly apparent. Emerging sires Kahal, Muhtafal, National Emblem and Captain Al are growing in popularity with every sale, which the Summerhill team has to be delighted with the first showing of Cataloochees (2 fillies at R350k and R210k respectively), while Solskjaer is expected to kickoff in a big way Sunday.

Highlights of Summerhill’s evening were a R450k Kahal, brother to Gold Cup winner, Desert Links, (sold for the late Sheikh Maktoum’s Financial Director Stephen Gill, and Greig and Michelle Muir’s Muhtafal own sister to Alejate, at a cool R425k from the indomitable Michael Azzie.

Click here to listen to Alec Hogg’s interview with Mick Goss

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