Lucky Lad’s dam Imperial State (Caesour) is seen here with her 2018 foal, Follow Me, a full-sister to Lucky Lad who won four times for Stuart Pettigrew, including the Gr 3 Fillies Mile (Picture: Varsfontein).
The dams of the Varsfontein Stud pair Sandringham Summit and Lucky Lad, who are the two prime candidates for the Equus Champion Two-year-old Male award, are being sent back to champion sire Gimmethegreenlight.
The stalwart son of More Than Ready is now the most expensive sire in the country at R250,000 in total (R50,000 nomination plus R200,000 for a live foal).
However, this is for more reasons than just his champion status, as Varsfontein Stud manager Carl De Vos explained, “Gimme has actually got a problem, so we have cut him back on his book. Whereas he has normally covered just a bit more than 120 mares, he is only covering 95 this year. He has developed a little bit of laminitis, we’ve got it under control, but if we want him with us for longer we have to look after him.”
The matings of some of Varsfontein’s top mares are:
Townsend (Captain Al), dam of Sandringham Summit (Gimmethegreenlight), is not in foal and is going back to Gimme.
Imperial State (Caesour), dam of Lucky Lad (Gimme), is in foal to Gimme and is going back to Gimme.
Star Express (Silvano), dam of Bless My Stars (Gimme), is in foal to Gimme and is going back to Gimme.
Moggytwoshoes (Mogok), dam of Zapatillas (Master Of My Fate), is in foal to Gimme and is going to Master Of My Fate
Secret Obsession (Captain Al), dam of Salvator Mundi (Dynasty), is in foal to What A Winter and is going to Master Of My Fate.
The promising Gimmeanotherchances’s dam Final Judgement (Judpot) is unfortunately deceased.
Bela-Bela (Dynasty), dam of Ciao Bella (Gimme), is in foal to Vercingetorix and will go to Gimme.
Ciao Bella herself will be going to Erik The Red (Captain Al).
Imperious Girl (National Emblem), dam of At My Command (Querari), is barren this year but will be going to Malmoos.
Scandola (Fort Wood), dam of Calla Muretta (Gimme), is in foal to Master Of My Fate and will go to Gimme.
Meanwhile, Varsfontein’s two other stallions, Master Of My Fate (Jet Master) and Erik The Red (Captain Al), have both got full books for the forthcoming season.
Master finished fifth on the national sires log last season and produced four individual stakes winners of five races. He was second to Gimme on the sires of three-year-olds list.
Carl said Erik The Red had produced magnificent first foals last season, and added it would be interesting to see how the market accepts them at next year’s yearling sales.
Gimmethegreenlight, who is now 16 years old, was the champion sire in the 2020/2021 season, beating his stablemate Master Of My Fate, and he won it for a second time last season (2022/2023).
He will likely be hard to beat this season considering the progeny he has in training like Sandringham Summit, Lucky lad, Gimme A Prince, Bless My Stars, Gimmeanotherchance, Cala Mureta, Eye Of The Prophet, Gimme A Shot, Second Base, Outofthedarkness, Shoemaker, Salvator Mundi, Ciao Bella, Kwinta’s Light, Going Up, Reny, Cosmic Highway, Countdown and others as well as many promising up and coming sorts like Royal Guide.
Gimmethegreenlight’s late sire More Than Ready was a top-class racehorse and breed-shaping stallion.
Trained during his racing career by Todd Pletcher for owner James Scatuorchio, More Than Ready captured the seven-furlong G1 King’s Bishop Stakes at Saratoga in 2000 at three and he also won that year’s G2 Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park. In a stellar juvenile season in 1999 in which he won five of seven starts, More Than Ready won the G2 Sanford Stakes by 9 ¾ lengths and the G3 Tremont Stakes by 4 ½ lengths. All told in his career, he amassed earnings of $1,026,229 and retired to stud with a record of 17-7-4-1.
The Paulick Report wrote at the time of his passing in late August last year, “A breed-shaping stallion, More Than Ready’s accomplishments are otherworldly. One of the youngest stallions in history to attain 100 stakes winners and 1,000 winners, More Than Ready, who was champion juvenile sire in the U.S. in 2010 and the leading sire of 2-year-olds in Australia in 2007-08 and again in 2008-09, enjoyed undeniable, record-breaking success as a stallion.
Further testament of his ability to sire versatile runners at the industry’s highest levels, More Than Ready is the number-one sire of Breeders’ Cup winners in history with seven wins in the marquee event, accomplished with six different winners of four different races at both sprint and route distances. Uni (GB) won the 2019 Mile; Roy H captured the 2018 and 2017 Sprint; Rushing Fall won the 2017 Juvenile Fillies Turf; Regally Ready annexed the 2011 Turf Sprint; More Than Real won the 2011 Juvenile Fillies Turf, and Pluck was triumphant in that year’s Juvenile Turf.
A dual-hemisphere shuttler and perhaps the most shuttled stallion ever, More Than Ready made an impact all around the globe, shuttling between WinStar Farm in Versailles, Ky., and Vinery Stud in Australia.
He stood his initial season in Australia in 2001 and his last southern hemisphere crop were yearlings at the time of his passing.”
Gimmethegreenlight was a top racehorse himself, who was retired in his prime due to injury.
He became the first three-year-old for 39 years to win the prestigious Gr 1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, beating the great Variety Club, and followed that with a third place finish to the great Igugu in the Met.
Gimmethegreenlight has already had a Gr 1 winner as a broodmare sire through Sweet Pepper (Trippi), who won the Allan Robertson Championship.
His broodmare prospects will be bolstered this season with the retirement to stud of Gr 2 winner and Gr 1 WSB Cape Fillies Guineas runner up Ciao Bella.