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The success of the Oppenheimer family’s breeding operation, which began shortly after World War II when Harry and Bridget Oppenheimer bought a farm in Kimberley, has been based on astute stallion purchases and their foresight in bringing Japanese blood to South Africa was highlighted on Dubai World Cup night.

The handsome Danon Platina (by Deep Impact) was crowned Champion 2 Year Old in Japan, having won the Group 1 Futurity Stakes over a mile. 

His sire Deep Impact was the son of the legendary Sunday Silence, who turned Japanese breeding into the force it is today.

Deep Impact became a legend himself after winning the Japanese Triple Crown in 2005 and the Japan Cup in 2006, as well as three other Japan Grade One races.

Who can forget the distraught Japanese fans after he failed to win the Arc as the heavily backed odds-on favourite in 2006. 

Danon Platina’s first crop have sold well to date, fetching R1,1 million for four lots at CTS CPYS at an average R275,000 and R4,415,000 at the BSA National Yearling Sale at an average of R315,357.

The history of Mauritzfontein’s top stallion imports:  

In 1951, Mauritzfontein imported its first stallion, Janus who was by Pharis and had been a top-class racehorse in France. Janus was the sire of Tiger Fish (Durban July Handicap), Open Sea and Ellation. He also sired Baccarat and Dame de Coeur- both of whom where back to back winners of the Oaks (1962-62).

In 1959, Mauritzfontein imported Wilwyn who, incidentally, was the first horse ever to be flown into South Africa. Four years later he was crowned South Africa’s Champion Sire, as a result of his top-class progeny, King Willow, Smash And Grab and Uncle Ben. He became a fantastic broodmare sire and his daughters produced, among others, Sentinel, Hidden Magic, Faro and Canyon Creek. Wilwyn’s son, Col. Pickering, is also the broodmare sire of the famous Horse Chestnut.

In 1965, Free Ride stood his first season at stud. His offspring included no fewer than five SA Oaks winners and the likes of Principal Boy (Durban July), Oakland Bay (SA Derby), Bodrum (SA Classic), With Pleasure (Natal Oaks) together with Run For Roses and Medora both of whom won the Paddock Stakes, Gr.1.

The next champion sire to be imported to Mauritzfontein arrived in 1994 – Fort Wood. A Group 1 winning son of Sadler’s Wells out of the dam Fall Aspen who produced four Group 1 winners. Fort Wood was set to take the farm’s legacy to a whole new level – the writing was on the wall with his first-ever runner, Horse Chestnut. This legend of the turf was to win the Triple Crown and J&B Met all in the same year and was named Horse Of The Year (1999). To date, Fort Wood has produced three Horse Of The Year colts and has already proved a magnificent sire of sires. His son Dynasty, who won the Durban July Handicap, has gone on to produce champions in Irish Flame, Equus Champion Beach Beauty, Jackson, Legislate and J&B Met winner, Futura. Fort Wood has also won champion broodmare titles and his daughters have produced among others, Capetown Noir, Thunder Dance, Pluck and Triple Tiara winner, Cherry On The Top.

Strike Smartly, a full brother to Smart Strike was imported in an attempt to create a successful cross for the many Fort Wood mares at Mauritzfontein. Sadly his career was cut short, and he left behind only six racing crops. Despite this, he produced Smart Banker who won 11 races including the Horse Chestnut Stakes twice. Strike Smartly also sired Bouquet-Garni (SA Derby), Prestic, General Sherman and multiple Group 1 winner Slumdogmillionaire.

Mauritzfontein then imported the son of Kingmambo out of Banks Hill, Ideal World, Ideal World has had huge success with his progeny on the racetrack. Both Smart Call and Rainbow Bridge have won the Group 1 Metropolitan, Smart Call going on to win a Group race in the United Kingdom before starting her stud career. Hermoso Mundo was crowned Equus Champion Stayer and the likes of Zante, Dark Moon Rising, Helen’s Ideal, Hero Quest, Zen Arcade and Louisiana are a few of the names that have contributed to Ideal World’s rise up the stallion log and the highest average earnings for the 2019 season.

Picture: Danon Platina (JPN – Deep Impact) enjoying a washdown from his handlers. He gets groomed every day, and sometimes a wash is needed because he is grey – sand and mud show quickly on his beautiful coat (Mauritzfontein Stud twitter).