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Equus Champion Broodmare Mystic Spring is still happy in the paddocks of Vaughan Koster’s Cheveley Stud despite being just a few days away from her 27th birthday on January 1 (Picture: Supplied).

The first and second races at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on Thursday were respectively won by the Vaughan Marshall-trained William Longsword colt Dumbledore under Corne Orffer and the Justin Snaith-trained first-time Vercingetorix filly Golden Sickle under Richard Fourie, both two-year-old first-timers.

The BBP syndicate-bred Dumbledore, who is owned by Rikesh Sewgoolam, is out of the Goldkeeper mare Secret Of Victoria, who is a daughter of the champion broodmare Mystic Spring.
The Varsfontein Stud-bred filly Golden Sickle is out of the Captain Al mare Victorian Secret, who is a grand-daughter of Mystic Spring.
The latter’s legacy continues unabated and is one of the best against-the-odds stories in South African racing.
Mystic Sprint is an Irish-bred by Royal Academy.
She was owned by John and Karen Newsome of Fieldspring Racing and had not been doing too well racing in England.
Michael Roberts recalled Karen asking him whether he believed it would be worthwhile sending her to South Africa. She was out of a full-sister to Mystiko, who had given Roberts his first British classic success in the 1991 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
Roberts recalled, “I told her I didn’t see why not as Mystiko had been a good fast ground horse and that was what you needed in South Africa.”
Mystic Spring was shipped over and put in training with Dean Kannemeyer Racing but didn’t show much and was soon retired to stud.
A couple of months later John Newsome made an arrangement with the great horseman and thoroughbred breeder Wilfred Koster to use the latter’s Cheveley Stud farm as the base for Fieldspring’s breeding operation.
This included bringing about ten imported mares in over a period of a number of years.
Vaughan Köster, who took over Cheveley Stud when his father passed away in 2008, remembered the arrival of a small and slight Mystic Spring at the farm.
“She looked like a visitor card (i.e very narrow)”, he recalled.
He said, “She was very sour and would chase you out of her stable. Perhaps it had something to do with all the travel and quarantine she had endured, but after being put out to pasture her attitude changed massively. She became a happy mare, although right until the end of her breeding career she was very protective over her offspring and with a foal at foot you would not enter her stable without caution.”
Mystic Spring’s first foal was by Jallad.
Vaughan recounted, “It was a complete disaster. He was narrow and gangly, had an ugly head and was bad-legged with particularly bad hind legs.”
Later on the young colt’s hind hocks used to knock so badly they had to drain some fluid out.
“My father was given two options by the vets, either put him down or ‘throw him to the mountains.’”
The great horseman took the latter option. 
“Throw to the mountains” is a saying meaning the foal should not be fed too much, thus preventing too much weight on the legs.
He was allowed the freedom of spacious camp, where he ran out with the riding horses, and he was put on dry feed.
A year later the sales inspectors were “generous” in giving the colt three out of ten as he still had “atrocious legs”.
“But he was very athletic,” recalled Vaughan.
The colt was put in training with the Kannemeyers.
Vaughan recalled, “Peter ‘PK’ Kannemeyer phoned about three months later and told us, ‘You won’t believe it, but this horse can run’. My father laughed and said ‘It can’t be!’”
The grey colt called Rabiya went on to win the Grade 1 Cape Guineas, the Grade 2 Cape Derby and the Grade 1 Daily News 2000 running in Fieldspring Racing’s maroon silks with the grey chevron.
However, his bad legs caught up with him in the most tragic of circumstances as he broke down in the 2005 Vodacom Durban July after starting favourite and had to be euthanised.
Nevertheless, Wilfred’s decision to work through a problem had ensured the foundation of a South African thoroughbred dynasty.
Mystic Spring’s second foal by Goldkeeper, Secret Of Victoria, was small, had the attitude of her mother and went on to become a great broodmare herself.
Vaughan recalled, “One day at the sales when it was time for the string to walk we waited and waited for Secret Of Victoria to appear. Eventually I walked over to her stable and found the groom cowering by the feed trough with her standing over him and refusing to let him move!”
Secret Of Victoria was bought by Garth Miller on behalf of the BBP syndicate due to the speed in her pedigree. Miller’s intuition proved to be lucrative in the long term for the syndicate members, Miller and Basil Nelson, and also for trainer Vaughan Marshall. Secret Of Victoria finished second in the Grade 1 Allan Robertson as a two-year-old and went on to become a Western Cape champion sprinter courtesy of three Graded wins, two Grade 2s and a Grade 3. At stud she has produced two Grade 1 winners, All Is Secret and The Secret Is Out, both bred by the BBP syndicate, both by Captain Al and both trained by Marshall. The Secret Is Out was raced by the BBP Syndicate too.
On Thursday a son of Captain Al, William Longsword, had a second success with Secret Of Victoria. The first foal they produced together, the Marshall-trained Voldemort, is already a two-time winner and Dumbledore made it two out of two for the match.
Voldemort also ran on Thursday but failed to make it a William Longsword/Secret Of Victoria, and a Harry Potter theme, double. 
Cheveley Stud kept Mystic Spring’s third foal, the Joshua Dancer filly Spring Lilac. She won a Grade 3 race and has gone on to produce the outstanding dual Grade 1 winner Snowdance as well as stakes winners Beat The Retreat, Juniper Spring, Victorian Secret and the promising Grade 2-placed speedster Captain Fontane.
Meanwhile, in the 2016/2017 season the top class grey filly Bela-Bela, a three-time Grade 1 winner, at last secured Mystic Spring the title she had so richly deserved, the Equus Broodmare of The Year award.
Bela-Bela is now making an immediate impact at stud as her first foal, three-year-old Snaith-trained Ciao Bella, is already a Grade 2 winner.
Mystic Spring was retired about five years ago, but is still enjoying herself in a paddock at Cheveley.
Vaughan said, “She never produced sales type ‘wow’ horses as such but they ran in all shapes and sizes. With family members now at such top studs as Klawervlei, Drakenstein and Varsfontein they are sure to get the support of top stallions. Whether her daughter’s daughters can also continue her legacy remains to be seen.”
It is fitting Mystic Spring’s family did so well with Captain Al as he was the pride and joy of Vaughan’s cousin John Koster’s national championship-winning breeding operation at Klawervlei Stud.
Susan Rowett of Varsfontein Stud recognised the influence of Mystic Spring a long time ago and began actively pursuing the family.
Varsfontein have stood four of Mystic Spring’s daughters, including her first daughter Secret Of Victoria (Goldkeeper) and last daughter Monroe Spring (Wylie Hall) as well as Touch The Sky and Bela-Bela.
Varsonfontein have therefore stood a number of Mystic Spring’s granddaughters too, including Victorian Secret.
They will be hoping Golden Sickle ignites Victorian Secret’s career because the latter has probably been a disappointing dam to date considering she was a twice Listed-winning full-sister to Snowdance.
Pictures below:
1) Vaughan Koster and Mystic Spring (Supplied).
2) Dumbledore (William Longsword-Secret Of Victoria) winning on debut over 1000m at Kenilworth today (Thursday) (Chase Liebenberg).
3) Golden Sickle (Vercingetorix-Victorian Secret) winning on debut over 1000m at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth today (Thursday) (Wayne Marks)