FROM the same era as Horse Chestnut came Fort Wood’s daughter Dog Wood, who won the 1999 Gr1 Paddock Stakes, then sponsored by Arc En Ciel.
Dog Wood, trained by Mike de Kock, gave the mighty stallion of stallions his first Gr1 winner in this race – her illustrious stable companion would only start his Gr1 winning roll in the Cape Guineas a week later.
Dog Wood, owned by Bridget and Harry Oppenheimer and Lady Sarah Keswick, was beaten in the Gr1 Cape Fillies Guineas by outsider Indiscreet Fantasy and the result was attributed to the notorious “Cape Crawl” which didn’t suit the big-striding De Kock inmate.
Dog Wood returned to her home base at Randjesfontein and was put back on a float a month later for the Paddock Stakes, in which jockey Weichong Marwing decided to make his own pace and stepped on the pedal to go five lengths clear in the back stretch, and a further two lengths ahead as they turned for home.
There was a headwind, and the best among the chasing rivals were sent after Dog Wood early, but she kept galloping to hold off Savannah Queen by 1.75-lengths.
“Dog Wood is a big, strong filly that eats well and I knew she’d be able to stand up to the travelling and racing,” commented De Kock after the race.
While Fort Wood himself never sired a Paddock Stakes winner after Dog Wood, his sons and daughters have dominated the race in recent years.
Fort Wood’s son Dynasty produced Beach Beauty, who won the race in 2013 and 2014. His daughter Shadow Dancing produced the 2012 winner, Thunder Dance, and his son Horse Chestnut produced Good Judgement, the dam of 2016 winner Smart Call.
The ante-post favourite for the year’s renewal of the now Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes this Saturdays is Bela Bela, another daughter of Dynasty. Safe Harbour, by Fort Wood stallion Elusive Fort, is also fancied in the betting, while Nightingale and Sail are both daughters of Fort Wood mares.