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“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them” – William Shakespeare

Hemel ‘n Aarde’s resident sire Horizon (Pictured Above) has had all the ingredients for greatness built in from day one. Not only is he by Equus Champion 3YO and Horse of the Year Dynasty, his dam Shina is the full sister to the incomparable globe-trotting champion and six time SA Champion Sire, Silvano (as well as half sister to another Gestut Fahrhof multiple G1 winner in Sabiango). As pedigrees go, it doesn’t get a lot better than that.

The experts agreed. Offered at the 2015 CTS Cape Premier Yearling Sale, Mike Bass Racing patron Piet du Toit went all the way to R5.2 million to secure the colt – a new South African sales record.

Entrusted to Candice Bass-Robinson, Horizon debuted at 3, winning at the second time of asking over 1600 at Kenilworth. He followed up with a 2nd place finish in the Listed Jet Master Stakes, a win in the Gr3 Politician Stakes and added places in the Gr1 Cape Derby and Gr1 Daily News 2000, convincing the stable that he deserved a starting berth in the 2017 Vodacom Durban July. At a time when they had sufficient fire power to saddle three runners (including the winner, Marinaresco) for the big race, that was no small compliment.

The decision was vindicated when the July produced a blanket finish with the first 8 runners 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 them. He was very unlucky,” Candice states firmly.

Horizon continued to race for two more seasons, ultimately concluding his career with 3 wins (including the Gr3 Politician Stakes) from 1400 – 1800m and 4 places from 17 starts.

Candice continues, “He had a lovely temperament and was very straightforward to train. 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 win the July. He should have been a Gr1 winner.”

Syndicated by Vermaak Bloodstock, Horizon took up stud duties at Hemel ‘n Aarde Stud in 2019 and stands for a very accessible R8000 cover fee.

David Hepburn-Brown is warmly enthusiastic: “Mike Bass always said this is a stallion. I followed him during his racing career and always thought a lot of him. I was at the 2017 July and really liked him for the win. Unfortunately he ran into all kinds of traffic, but still only finished a length behind the winner. Mind you, if he had won, we probably wouldn’t have got to stand him,” he says wryly.

“We are really happy to have him and 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 much the strongest.”

Horizon has had an average of 55 mares for each of his first three seasons and is stamping his progeny firmly. Like their sire, they are good looking and well-balanced individuals and they are being favourably received at the sales. “It was a broad spectrum and I couldn’t be happier with the results,” confirms David. 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.

Although his 2yo’s are just starting to enter the training yards, the early impressions are good. Candice Bass-Robinson reports, “A lot of them look like him and I liked them a lot at the sales. Ours have only just come in, but they are nice types. They have good substance and are easy to work with and although we are still only trotting ours, from what we’ve seen, they look like they move nicely on the track. I think they’ll have a good chance.”

Peter Muscutt is equally enthused. “Of the two colts I have, both are lovely individuals. One’s a chestnut and one’s a big bay, but they are like peas in a pod – they have the same action and the same temperament. He’s really stamping them, which I think is vital for first and second crop sires. In the short time ours have been in, they haven’t put a foot wrong. They’ve been on every track at Summerveld and been put through the barriers and everything’s gone like clockwork. I couldn’t be happier.” Asked whether he thinks they may run this season, he replies, “I don’t believe in chasing after money with young horses, but in my opinion, Cape Town in the summer is the best place on the planet for a racehorse – they just seem to blossom. I’m bringing both to Cape Town with me to see how they progress. If they show any precocity we’ll try for those rich 2yo pickings, but only if they put their hands up,” he says firmly.