Halfway To Heaven’s feat of producing three Grade 1 winners with her first three foals might be a world record according to Cape Town-based racing guru Charles Faull and she needs just one more Grade 1 winner to become the most prolific Grade 1-producing mare in South Africa history.
She is owned by the current champion breeders, Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein Studs, and her three runners to date are Rainbow Bridge (won the Grade 1 Sun Met and Grade 1 Champions Cup), Hawwaam (Grade 1 SA Classic, Grade 1 Premier’s Champions Challenge, Grade 1 Daily News 2000) and Golden Ducat (Grade 1 ARC Commemorative Cape Derby).
Faull’s Action Racing Online website named seven other South African mares who have produced three Grade 1 winners each since 1940, they being: AVE MARIA (stakes winner) (Israfeel –SA Oaks, Jelal Shah-SA Guineas, Kerason- Durban July); FIRST LISA (Stakes winner) (Divine Fashion-Garden Province, Counter Action-Champions Cup, Perfect Order-Paddock Stakes); JULIE ANDREWS (Gr1 winner) (Principal Boy –Durban July, Col Pickering-Hawaii Stakes, Grease Paint- SA Oaks); LOYAL LINDA (placed) (Gold Flier- Smirnoff, Successful Bidder- Gold Challenge, Trust Antonia- Allan Robertson); MARITIME (3 wins) (Top Gallant- SA Guineas and Cape Derby, Sea Cottage-seven Gr1 wins. Naval Escort- Durban July); REACTION (Stakes winner) (Nervous Tension- Cape Guineas, Hifrac-SA Derby, Response-Cape Guineas); TECLA FIELDS (winner) Circle Of Life-Garden Province, African Lion- Champions Cup, Zebra Crossing- Met).
Maritime was probably the most celebrated of the above seven, having produced the immortal Sea Cottage as well as another Durban July winner and a Durban July runner up.
One mare who can be considered unlucky to miss out was Trade Enquiry, who stood at Bruce le Roux’s Spring Valley Stud in the KZN Midlands. Her first of five foals was Grade 1 Woolavington winner Count The Money, her second foal was Grade 1 Daily News 2000 and Champions Cup winner Buy And Sell and her fourth foal was the SA Oaks winner Bedloe’s Island. However, the SA Oaks, which has periodically enjoyed Grade 1 status, was a Grade 2 at the time.
Two famous names who are missing from the above list are Drohsky and Ethane.
1929-born Drohsky, imported from Great Britain, produced nine winners from eleven foals, including Lenin, who was widely considered the greatest racehorse South Africa had seen before the appearance of Colorado King and Sea Cottage in the 1960s. Drohsky was revered as a foundation mare of the Birch Brothers, who were SA Champion breeders more than 40 times. She is the third dam of Sea Cottage and appears in the pedigree of many Birch Brother greats.
Ethane produced the greats William Penn and Hawaii and also left a lasting influence, with an example being twice Equus Horse Of The Year Legal Eagle, who has her as his fifth dam.
Halfway To Heaven has a full-brother and full-sister to Hawwaam (Silvano) on the ground as well as a Querari foal, so she should go on to smash more records.
By David Thiselton