Pedi­gree con­firms Wylie Wench’s worth


THE ath­letic Mike and Adam Azzi­etrained Wylie Hall filly Wylie Wench was one of the most eye­catch­ing win­ners of the week­end and she looks ca­pa­ble of jus­ti­fy­ing the money Vars­fontein Stud paid to ac­quire her.

A quick glance at her rich pedi­gree is all that is re­quired to know why she has brought two fa­mous rac­ing fam­i­lies to­gether.

Her story starts with An­thony Kal­man­son, a Dur­ban­ite who used to en­joy rid­ing in jumps races in Eng­land.

He used to look for fil­lies in Europe to bol­ster his brood­mare band at Vars­fontein Stud, which he founded in 1974.

He would race them over there and some­times ride them in hur­dles races be­fore bring­ing them out to South Africa.

In the early 1970's he bought a filly called Lucky Li­bra, who was by the Fair Trial line sire Great White Way.

She won three races in Eng­land, one over 1600m on the flat and two over hur­dles.

De­spite win­ning a hur­dles race over twoand-a-half miles, she was des­tined to be­come the found­ing mare of a fam­ily whose most fa­mous names are sprint­ers, although some mem­bers of the fam­ily are ver­sa­tile.

Her first foal Crown Sable (Pea­ca­ble King­dom) won nine races from 1000m to 1900m, in­clud­ing a Grade 3 over 1000m.

Lucky Li­bra was then sent to Scott Brothers' five-times cham­pion sire Jun­gle Cove and the re­sult was the filly En­chant­ing, who was a su­perb race­horse and a ma­tri­arch at stud.

She won two Grade 1s and a Grade 2 over 1600m, in­clud­ing the Gos­forth Park Fil­lies Guineas.


Kal­man­son passed away in 1979 and the run­ning of Vars­fontein had been handed down to his twin off­spring, John and Su­san.

The twins, to their last­ing re­gret, sold En­chant­ing. How­ever, they al­ways look for her fam­ily mem­bers at the Sales.

En­chant­ing was ex­ported to the USA af­ter her rac­ing feats out here and stood at her owner Gra­ham Beck's Gainesway Farm.

She was later sent back to SA to stand at Beck's High­lands Farm Stud, but not be­fore she had pro­duced four USA-bred foals, in­clud­ing the Spend A Buck filly En­chanted Dol­lar.

En­chanted Dol­lar

En­chanted Dol­lar won twice in South Africa be­fore stand­ing at High­lands.

She pro­duced two Graded win­ners in­clud­ing the cham­pion Na­tional As­sem­bly colt Na­tional Cur­rency.

The lat­ter was pur­chased for R500,000 at the Na­tional Year­ling Sales and Beck took a share in him to­gether with A Christo­forou, C J W and N Hilt and J E H Clarke.

Na­tional Cur­rency, trained by Mike Azzie, broke 1000m course records at Turf­fontein and New­mar­ket on his way to nine ca­reer wins, in­clud­ing three Grade 1s. He was an Equus Cham­pion two-year-old and an Equus Cham­pion three-year-old sprinter. The big 16-hands-2-inch bay earned the nick­name "the horse with the movie star looks" and was still said to be ma­tur­ing when trag­i­cally pass­ing away as a four-year-old.

In his penul­ti­mate start in South Africa in the Grade 1 Mer­cury Sprint over 1200m at Clair­wood when still a three-year-old he de­stroyed them by 5,25 lengths.

He then went over to Hong Kong and ran sec­ond to the leg­endary Silent Wit­ness, who was named world cham­pion sprinter for three years in suc­ces­sion.

Azzie had claimed be­fore that race that had it been over six fur­longs and not five the op­po­si­tion would have been bet­ter off not pitch­ing up.

His next start in Dubai in a Listed race over 1200m on the dirt per­haps proved him cor­rect as he cruised in by six-and-a-half lengths.

Na­tional Cur­rency had the world at his feet and it was a dev­as­tat­ing blow to Azzie and SA rac­ing fans when his life was then claimed by a sus­pected snake or scor­pion bite.

Azzie was once asked by the Race­goer when he had a run­ner in the Mer­cury Sprint to com­pare the favourite of that race to Na­tional Cur­rency and he said, "Na­tional Cur­rency could have stopped for a cup of tea at the 400m and still beaten him."

That is how much he revered him. En­chant­ing's first SA-bred foal was Harry's Charm, an ARCSA Cham­pion twoyear-old and three-year-old filly and she was later a Cham­pion Older Sprinter.

En­chant­ing later pro­duced a filly by Na­tional As­sem­bly, En­chantress, who won eight times in­clud­ing the Grade 1 SA Fil­lies Sprint and was Equus Cham­pion Older Fe­male Sprinter in 2002.


En­chantress has pro­duced the Grade 1 Thek­wini win­ner and Equus Cham­pion two-year-old filly Lav­erna and the Grade 3 Lons­dale Stir­rup Cup win­ner Nev­vay, prov­ing there are still lines of stamina com­ing through from Lucky Li­bra.

Wylie Wench, bred by Lam­mer­skraal Stud, is the eighth foal of En­chantress.

Su­san Rowett (nee Kal­man­son) of Vars­fontein bought Wylie Wench at BSA's Na­tional Two-year-old Sale for R600,000.

Mike Azzie had also liked her con­for­ma­tion and the pair soon agreed that as he knew the fam­ily so well he would be the right trainer.

Af­ter all her dam is a three-parts sis­ter to Na­tional Cur­rency.

The Azzies pro­vided Wylie Wench with a test on Satur­day which was go­ing to help them plan her fu­ture.

It was just her sec­ond ca­reer start and she was asked to over­come a wide draw in the 1 450m fil­lies and mares maiden.

Af­ter dwelling slightly she was caught wide in the run­ning with­out cover.

How­ever, she re­mained re­laxed and made up the deficit eas­ily at the top of the straight.

She then wan­dered around in the front be­fore a back­han­der from Ray­mond Daniel­son saw her surg­ing to win as she liked.

The Azzies said she had taken time to ma­ture.

They are not get­ting ahead of them­selves but Wylie Wench is def­i­nitely a horse to fol­low.

Her sire Wylie Hall is one of the best per­formed South African-based sons of the late great Aus­tralian cham­pion sire Red­oute's Choice and he is al­ready be­gin­ning to make waves as a sire him­self.

The Mike and Adam Azzie-trained filly WYLIE WENCH.

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