A son of Hemel ‘n Aarde’s Dynasty stallion Horizon, the unnamed colt slotted for the 2022 National Yearling Sale ring as lot 398 on Friday afternoon is out of a 4 time winning sister to two Gr2 winners in Brazil, and a half-brother to 4 winners.
Robyn Louw writes that Shakespeare’s musings that “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them” could have been tailor-made for the 2013 Maine Chance Farms-bred Horizon.
A son of Equus Classic 3YO and Horse of the Year Dynasty; out of Shina, a full sister to globe-trotting champion and five time Champion Sire, Silvano (and half sister to another Gestut Fahrhof multiple Gr1 winner in Sabiango) he has all the ingredients for greatness built in.
John Slade, who was Maine Chance’s stud master at the time, remembers him as being very straightforward. “As a foal, he was always well made, but nothing outstanding, but a lot of people will tell you that the Dynasty’s are very plain looking foals and weanlings that just get better and better. He was typical of that. So there’s no story to him really – he started well and just got better and better and was one of the nicest looking yearlings that year. Plus, he’s by a champion out of a full sister to a champion – it reads well.”
Originally named Shining Knight in the German tradition of using the first letter from the dam, the colt was cataloged as lot 48 at the 2015 CTS Cape Premier Yearling Sale and set a new South African sales record by fetching R5,2 million.
Signed for by KUDA’s Wehann Smith, the purchase was for one of his game clients, first time buyer Piet du Toit, on the advice of Mike Bass, who made the colt his pick of the sale. Mr du Toit announced his intention to rename the colt Tsunami, after his top West Zambian Sable breeding bull, but the name was unavailable, so he settled on ‘Horizon’, in honor of a record priced buffalo.
With the hypo surrounding the royally-bred colt with the big ticket price, Wehann laughs that he felt like he had a share in the horse, even though he didn’t and followed his career very closely.
“I did end up buying a share in him as a stallion and bought a share in a yearling at the 2022 CPYS. “We think he has every chance. He has a special pedigree from a South African perspective and we are hoping he will be successful.”
Horizon started his racing career as a 3yo in the 2016/17 season, alongside Candice Bass-Robinson who had just taken over the reins from her father, Mike and raced in the green and silver checked silks of Hunkydory Investments Pty Ltd. He raced for three seasons for a total of three wins (including the Gr3 Politician Stakes) and two places from 17 career starts.
“He had a lovely temperament and was very straightforward to train,” remembers Candice. “He had a good turn of foot and was versatile – he had pace as well as the ability to stay. He was very unlucky not to have won the July.”
Her statement is leant considerable weight when one recalls it was a time when the yard had sufficient fire power to saddle three runners that year (including the winner, Marinaresco) and that the race produced a blanket finish with the first 8 runners all crossing the line within 2 lengths of each other. “He was drawn 16, raced at the back most of the way, encountered traffic in the straight and still only finished a length off of them. He was very unlucky,” she repeats.
He chipped a knee in Durban, but despite surgery was never quite the same. Her comment that, “We never saw his true ability,” hints that the frustration still lingers.
Like Wehann, she is enthusiastic about his prospects as a sire and has already acquired three of his yearlings. “He has a great pedigree and his progeny are extremely impressive.” Predicting success in breeding shed is a notoriously tricky business, but Candice says, “I think he has a big chance, particularly if he gets good quality mares.”
Horizon had his last start in the 2018 Cape Mile and was syndicated for stud by Vermaak Equine.
He took up stud duties at David Hepburn-Brown’s gorgeous Hemel ‘n Aarde nursery in 2019, standing for a very accessible R8 000 cover fee.
As with everyone else surrounding the horse, David is warmly enthusiastic about his charge. “I followed him during his racing career and always thought a lot of him. I was at that July, sitting in the box with Marsh and the Basses and we all really liked Horizon to win. He just didn’t get a clear run and only lost by a small margin. Mind you, if he had won, we probably wouldn’t have got to stand him,” he says wryly.
“Mike Bass always said this is a stallion. I’d always expressed an interest and we are very happy to have him. He’s been well syndicated by the big farms. Sons of Dynasty have done well at stud and there’s no reason he shouldn’t do the same – on paper he’s the strongest.”
David has put his money where his mouth is by supporting the horse with his own mares. “You’ve got to back him,” he says seriously. “If you don’t, you can’t expect anyone else to. And he deserves it.”
He confirms that Horizon received around 60 mares for each of his first three seasons. “It was a broad spectrum and I couldn’t be happier with the results. The looks are there – they’re classy, they’ve got substance, they’re a nice size and they have nice temperaments. It’s a good start. And they’ve gone to nice yards,” he adds happily.
There were two colts and two fillies cataloged at the 2022 CTS Premier Sale with a further four Hemel ‘n Aarde bred Horizons at the BSA Cape Yearling Sale and the feedback from buyers and fellow breeders has been very positive.
After Nationals, David has entered a further two for BSA’s KZN sale as well as eight that he is splitting across the August and November 2YO Sales.
It is never easy to make it as a sire and Horizon faces stiff competition as he makes his debut alongside the likes of Danon Platina, Fire Away, Hat Puntano, Heavenly Blue, Lancaster Bomber and New Predator, but they say a stallion’s pedigree tells you what they could be, their performance tells you what they should be and their progeny tells you what they are.
Luckily we don’t have too long to wait.
And while you’re waiting, have another look at lot 398 – pictured below.