Like fa­ther, like son

CityPress - - Sport - RE­HANA LOONAT sport@city­press.co.za

Last Sun­day, South Africans cel­e­brated their dads on Fa­ther’s Day. So per­haps it’s fit­ting to pay trib­ute to the dads in this year’s Vo­da­com Dur­ban July, South Africa’s old­est and most glam­orous horse race, which takes place on Satur­day.

Af­ter all, al­most ev­ery horse in this pres­ti­gious race is the prog­eny of a fa­ther who has been a past July win­ner or rac­ing cham­pion in his own right.

Most of these fathers, or sires, are South African. If not, their off­spring have been bred lo­cally, which makes the July a proudly South African event.

For in­stance, this year’s hot favourite, Le­gal Ea­gle, is the son of Greys Inn, who won the July in 2004.

Last year’s win­ner, Leg­is­late, is the son of Dy­nasty, who won the July in 2003 and went on to sire mul­ti­ple cham­pi­ons and Equus Award win­ners. Another son, Fu­tura, win­ner of this year’s Queen’s Plate and J&B Met, is be­ing touted as a pos­si­ble win­ner on Satur­day. Dy­nasty’s two other sons – Dy­nas­tic Power and Dy­namic – form part of the July field.

The July win­ner in 2013, Heavy Me­tal, and 2010 vic­tor, Bold Sil­vano, are the sons of Ger­man-bred cham­pion Sil­vano, who stands at stud in the Western Cape.

His sons, Power King, Tellina, Punta Are­nas, Ice Ma­chine and Hot Ticket will also line up for the July.

The late Jet Master, one of South Africa’s great­est equine ath­letes, passed on his prodi­gious tal­ent to his sons, Po­modoro, who won the July in 2012 and “The Peo­ple’s Cham­pion”, Pocket Power, who shared July hon­ours in a pul­sat­ing dead heat in 2008. Another son, Helder­berg Blue, is also a July run­ner. So it’s not hard to see that breed­ing is key in pro­duc­ing a win­ner. Robert Garner, gen­eral man­ager of pub­lish­ing at Phumelela, which man­ages horse rac­ing in Gaut­eng, says: “Breed­ing is a huge el­e­ment in a horse’s make-up. Par­ents pass on their in­di­vid­ual abil­i­ties to their prog­eny, so fam­ily lin­eage is very im­por­tant in mak­ing a cham­pion.”

So who does he think is the best-bred horse in this year’s July? “Le­gal Ea­gle,” he says with­out hes­i­ta­tion. Will the son of Greys Inn power to vic­tory in Africa’s rich­est horse race like his fa­ther did 11 years ago, or will a son or daugh­ter of another cham­pion reign supreme?

This ques­tion will be an­swered in em­phatic style when the big race day ar­rives at Greyville Race­course on

Satur­day.

PHOTO: JOHN LEWIS

DAD, LOOK AT ME The 2014 Vo­da­com Dur­ban

July win­ner, Leg­is­late, is the son of Dy­nasty, who won the July in 2003

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