Captain Al’s Legacy Continues

The mighty Captain Al.

Captain Of All snuck in as the champion freshman sire last season from Vercingetorix. John Koster of Klawervlei Stud said it was great for South African breeding that their respective champion fathers, Captain Al and Silvano, having already proven themselves to be great broodmare sires, were now showing themselves to be sires of sires.

Koster said, “Captain Al is is one of the very few sire lines of Roberto still left and this line is a great out-cross to Northern Dancer and Mr Prospector. Alan Porter, a pedigree guru from the USA, told me that in Captain Al we have the fastest Roberto sire line at stud in the world.”

It is little wonder that three yearlings by the late Captain Al were bought by Hong Kong-based interests at this year’s National Yearling Sale. 

Captain Of All had 14 two-year-old winners of 16 races compared to Vercingetorix’s 13 winners of 21 races. However, the championship is decided on non-restricted race stakes money. Vercingetorix’s progeny earned R2,526,375, but a big portion of this was won by his son African Warrior in the restricted KZN Yearling Sale million. Captain Of All earned R1,875,725 non-restricted race stakes, which was R74,350 clear of Vercingetorix’s non-restricted earnings of R1,801,375.

Nevertheless, the success of the Maine Chance Farms-based Vercingetorix is also important to Klawervlei as they bred him and own a quarter of a share in him.

Also exciting for Klawervlei is the preparation for the Sales of Captain Al sire William Longsword’s first yearlings. 

William Longsword. Image: Candiese Marnewick

Furthermore, there are more Captain Al stallions in waiting, including the like of One World, Undercover Agent and the exciting youngster Captain Of Stealth, who won his only two starts as a two-year-old by a combined margin of 11,50 lengths.

Captain of All, trained by Dennis Drier, won three Grade 1s, the Tsogo Sun Gold Medallion, the Tsogo Sun Sprint and the Mercury Sprint. He was particularly impressive in the last of these wins, winning by 4,5 lengths from Captain Al filly Carry On Alice, and this earned him a merit rating of 126, which was a joint South African record at the time, previously held solely by the legendary Jet Master.

Koster said, “Captain Of All is throwing different types of horse. He himself was a substantial horse who was a bit short in the leg, so he stood close to the ground and was a strong, sprinting type. However, a lot of his ancestors were English and a lot of the foals he is throwing are very English types i.e tall in the leg. This is why the trainers are waiting with them. There are still close to 50 of his first crop yet to race.”

He continued, “He has a very good syndicate of owners, so he was well supported in his first few seasons without having many outside mares but as soon as he was announced as the freshman champion the outside bookings began pouring in.”

Meanwhile William Longsword has been stamping his progeny in exactly the same way Captain Al did. 

Koster said, “William Longsword’s foals have been unbelievable. They are good bodied, with plenty of substance and are like peas in a pod, just like the Captain Als were. The Cape Thoroughbred Sales inspection team of Ric Wylie, John Kramer and Kerry Jack were blown away by William Longsword’s yearlings.”

William Longsword, like Captain Al himself and also One World and Captain Of Stealth, was trained by Vaughan Marshall. He was retired as a young three-year-old despite still being perfectly sound and with a lot of racing still in him. It made sense because he had won the Cape Guineas 16 years after his father, who was beginning to become sub-fertile, had won it and furthermore his dam is a half-sister to Victory Moon, who was a great loss to the industry when passing away at the age of just nine.

Koster said the decision to retire William Longsword so early had now proven to be the “hundred percent” correct one. He said, “His last two impressive wins of the Cape Guineas and the CTS 1600 sit squarely in people’s minds so he is an extremely popular horse.”

Koster described Captain Of All and William Longsword’s temperaments as “beautiful”, although of the “don’t mess with me” mould.

The balance of Klawervlei’s exceptional band of stallions at present is made up of Twice Over, Pomodoro, Coup De Grace and Royal Mo.

Twice Over needs no introduction being the sire of the duel Vodacom Durban July winner and Equus Horse Of The Year Do It again.

Pomodoro has also made an exceptional start to his stud career with multiple Grade 1-placed Cirillo and the twice Grade 1-winner Return Flight being members of his first crop and the exciting Putontheredlight being one of his second crop prospects. Pomodoro is a son of the late seven-times champion sire Jet Master, who, like Captain Al and Silvano, has proven himself a top broodmare sire and is now showing himself to be a sire of sires as well.

Koster said about Coup De Grace, “He is by Tapit and is from the A. P. Indy sire line, which has done so well in South Africa. He will have his first runners this year. It is very exciting as he ran the fastest 1200m in the USA in 2014.”

It is not surprising Klawervlei like this line as A.P. Indy’s dam Weekend Surprise was a half-sister to Al Mufti, the sire of Captain Al.

Royal Mo won a Grade 3 over 1700m and was third in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby before fracturing a sesamoid as an early three-year-old. He is by Coolmore’s new sire sensation Uncle Mo, who is breaking records in America. Óne of the world’s leading stallion analysts, Bill Oppenheim, has compared Uncle Mo’s early statistics to those of A.P. Indy, Danzig and Storm Cat. 

It certainly is exciting times for Klawervlei Stud and if the export protocol problem is solved the world could well be their oyster.

-David Thiselton / Gold Circle

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