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The happy winning connections of Mrs Geriatrix are from left to right: Peter Blyth, Bernadette Breton, Natalie Turner, Jackie Sparke, Kate Pattison, Sean Tarry, Richard Fourie, Shandre Hoffman, Joanne Gardner and Garth Towell (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)


Sporting Post

Good things come to those who wait. Clifton Stud’s Peter and Jenny Blyth, the breeders of Gr1 Allan Robertson Championship victress Mrs Geriatrix, will wholeheartedly agree with that.

The diminutive daughter of Vercingetorix added her name to an impressive roll of honour with her sparkling victory in the revered 1200m dash, her third at stakes level, on Saturday.
Still unbeaten, the filly’s Gr1 success came on the back of wins in the Listed Ruffian Stakes and Gr2 SA Fillies Nursery.
“She is our second Gr1 winner,” Peter remarked. “We’ve waited a long time for this.”
That’s 25 years, to be exact, the first being Clifton-bred Classic Flag, who all the way back in 1998 won the (then) Gr1 Rothmans July in course record time. Classic Flag was named ARCSA Champion Three-year-old Male and ARCSA Horse Of The Year for the season. 
Mrs Geriatrix initiated an unprecedented Gr1 hat-trick on the day for the Sean Tarry stable, and as Peter recalls: “I sold her to Sean out of the ring. I had a reserve of R200,000 on her, but she was led out unsold. As he had shown interest in her, I approached him afterwards and he eventually bought her. When you think that Vercingetorix averaged over R600,000, she was one of his cheapest lots on the sale!”
And what a shrewd buy she has turned out to be for her team of lady owners, Natalie Turner’s the Magical Lady Syndicate.
The Hollywoodbets Scottsville paddock was awash in pink as they led in their filly, with a proud Peter in tow.
“It’s wonderful to see such enthusiasm,” he remarked, “This is what racing needs.”
Mrs Geriatrix is out of homebred Kahal mare Velvet Glove, who according to Peter, was no great shakes on the track.
As he explains: “I decided to breed from her purely because she is an own sister to Prince Of Kahal, a dual Gr2 winner of nine races. She was too slow to get out of her own way, amazing, considering how good her brother was!”
“Mrs Geriatrix looks like her dam, who is also quite small. She is her second foal, the first one, the three-year-old Iron Fist, placed in his only two starts to date for the Peter stable. I sold her Act Of War yearling to Jane Thomas at the Nationals this year. Velvet Glove didn’t have a foal last year, but she is due to Master Of My Fate in September.”
Peter bred both Velvet Glove and Prince Of Kahal from the Model Man mare Vogue, a daughter of Jubilee Handicap winner Thousand Nights, by Foveros.
Remarkably, Vogue too, had her moment in the sun at this Hollywoodbets Scottsville meeting.
Back in 2000, she earned coveted Gr1 black type when second in the Gr1 SA Fillies Sprint for David Ferraris.
At the time, her half-brother Highland Night was a dual winner of the Gr1 Gold Cup.
An already fine pedigree would be further embellished as Thousand Nights subsequently produced a second Gr1 winner, the Western Winter colt Warm White Night, who went one better than his half-sister by claiming the Gr1 Gold Medallion at this meeting in 2008.
He was in fact his dam’s fourth stakes winner and had been preceded by the dual stakes winner Night Watch, a full brother to Highland Night who also ran third in the Gr1 Gold Challenge, and Prince Asad, a dual Gr2 winner by Al Mufti.
Peter elaborated: “After running second in the Fillies Sprint, Vogue suffered a foot injury in her next start and that was the end of her racing career. She came to me when I was still at Lothair and her owner had sent her to his Queen’s Plate winner Divine Force, which I stood at the time.”
“When Vogue’s owner decided to get out of the game, she already had three foals by Divine Force. I really wanted her and after a lot of deliberation, I made him an offer for all his stock, a parcel of 26 horses made up of mares, weanlings and yearlings. She was the plum and I agreed to the deal, basically to get her, although there were two or three other mares worth having. She was a liver chestnut who wasn’t overly big, but was strong and stood over ground.”
That purchase set Peter back financially.
But his decision to send Vogue to Fort Wood proved a touch of genius. He probably recouped his investment when the resultant colt went under the hammer at the National Yearling Sale and fetched a hefty R2,2 million.
Named Fort Vogue and trained by Mike Bass, he won the Gr2 Peninsula Handicap and Gr3 Schweppes 2200.
“He was sent to Dubai but sadly, dropped dead before he could race,” Peter added ruefully.
Interestingly, Vogue ran second in the SA Fillies Sprint on the same day Jet Master won the Gr1 Golden Spur for the second year running. Little did they know that they would meet up in the breeding shed some years later, the result of that mating a filly named Whatalady.
Peter sold her to the Wernars for R600 000 at the Nationals just as Fort Vogue was strutting his stuff on the track and she too, proved she could run. Trained by the late Stanley Ferreira, she became Vogue’s second stakes winners with a cosy victory in the Gr3 Acacia Handicap.
“Unfortunately, she went wrong after winning the Acacia. Lawrence Wernars told me she had so much talent, she could have gone right to the top.”
Prince Of Kahal, who rounded out Vogue’s stakes winning trio, proved to be Vogue’s last foal.
“She died of colic and despite the best efforts by more than one vet, they couldn’t pull her through.”
Thankfully, Peter still has two daughters amongst his broodmare band in Velvet Glove and her half-sister Fashion Talk, who in contrast to her sister, was talented enough to win three races, but has yet to emulate her sibling as a broodmare. Such is breeding!

“To think we’ve had to wait this long for a second Gr1 winner, that’s how hard this game is,” Peter added. “Days like this is what keeps us going,” concluded Peter.