The future of the Klawervlei Stud-bred Sun Met winner One World will be decided after the connections have sat down and discussed it next week.
Trainer Vaughan Marshall described the win on Saturday as “very special”.
The Milnerton-based trainer’s third Met victory fell 21 years after he had won a Juvenile Plate race at this same meeting with a two-year-old colt called Captain Al and it fell 34 years to the day after his first big career win with Sea Warrior in the Grade 1 Richelieu (Cape) Guineas.
His success with Sea Warrior inadvertently helped him acquire Captain Al, who ultimately had a massive impact on his career.
Marshall has now trained two Met winners by Captain Al, Hill Fifty Four in 2014 and One World this year. (His first Met victory was in 1996 with the Lustra gelding La Fabulous).
Captain Al, born in 1996, was the result of a chance mating.
John Koster had become firm friends with “Uncle Mannie” Dos Santos, who stood his mares on the Koster Brothers’ Klawervlei farm near Bonnievale. The mares were registered in Dos Santos’s name for their first two breeding seasons and thereafter became the official property of the stud.
Hence, Koster Brothers officially owned the former Dos Dantos mare Off To War when she was sent to the sought after sire Al Mufti in 1995.
John Koster recalled, “It was impossible to get a booking to Al Mufti in those days but we made an agreement with Wayne Veitch, a syndicate shareholder in Al Mufti, whereby if the foal was a filly he would get a third of her.”
However, the resulting foal, Captain Al, was a colt so was fully owned by the Kosters and Dos Santos in partnership.
Sadly Uncle Mannie passed away before Captain Al was born.
His son Gary took over the management
of his bloodstock.
On John Koster’s advice Gary decided to race Captain Al together with his late brother Anthony.
Gary consequently bought Koster brothers out of the partnership.
Gary sought a new trainer and John Koster recommended the relatively young trainer Vaughan Marshall.
Koster recalled, “Vaughan was the first trainer I became close friends with. My father had imported the stallion Complete Warrior and Vaughan trained Sea Warrior, who was from Complete Warrior’s first crop, to win the Richelieu Guineas.”
Captain Al’s dam, Off To War, was also by Complete Warrior, so, all in all, it made sense to send Captain Al to Vaughan Marshall.
Marshall was a Natal trainer at the time Sea Warrior won the Guineas at Milnerton on February 1, 1986, but later set up a satellite yard at Milnerton before moving there permanently.
Koster said about Captain Al, “He was quite dumpy as a weanling but then suddenly grew and gained a bit of scope.”
Captain Al made his debut on January 23, 1999, over 1000m at Kenilworth and Marshall was confident. He was backed into 15/10 favourite and won by 4,50 lengths under Jeff Lloyd despite jumping a patch at the 850m mark.
He consequently went off as 4/10 favourite on Met day February 6 and won by two lengths under Robbie Fradd.
Captain Al went on to win the Grade 3 Matchem Stakes over 1400m, the Grade 1 Cape Guineas, the Grade 2 Merchants over 1200m and the Grade 2 Diadem over 1200m.
Koster recalled Jeff Lloyd not being at all worried by Captain Al’s wide draw in the Cape Guineas.
“He said that draw allows you to stay out of trouble. Likewise, Hill Fifty Four won the Met from a wide draw, One World won it from a wide draw too and William Longsword won the Cape Guineas from a wide draw.”
He continued, “I thought it was a very brave ride by MJ, especially considering some believed there was a slight stamina doubt.”
He added, “The influence of Giant’s Causeway can be seen in One World. Giant’s Causeway was called the iron horse and used to love to eyeball his opposition. One World also loves a dog fight.”
One World’s British-bred dam Aquilonia is by Giant’s Causeway.
Koster said, “Anthony Stroud bought Aquilonia for Bernard Kantor to send to Count Dubois. Later when Bernard joined Klawervlei she became part of our broodmare band. Aquilonia had earlier produced a filly by Galileo who won the Krasnador Oaks and the Krasnador Derby in Russia as well as the Russian 1000 Guineas, so I believed One World would get the Met trip on pedigree.”
Early on Met day Erik The Red gave Captain Al his 99th stakes win when winning the Listed Summer Juvenile Stakes.
One World’s Sun Met victory hence, most fittingly, gave the late great stallion his 100th stakes victory.
Captain Al, who was champion sire of two-year-olds many times, was SA Champion Sire in the 2014/2015 season.
Many of Marshall’s Grade 1 victories have been with progeny of Captain Al.
The great stallion’s influence will live on and Marshall has already bought two of William Longsword’s progeny at the Sales.
William Longsword is the first of Captain Al’s classic-winning sons to stand at stud and he averaged more than R400,000 at the CTS Cape Premier Yearling Sale last month with his first sales draft.
Koster referred to the statue of Captain Al which stands at Klawervlei Stud to sum up his greatness.
He said, “If you look at that statue it is his incredible balance which stands out.”
He continued, “One World looks just like his father.”
He added, “Both One World and William Longsword have heads which are almost exact replicas of Captain Al’s. All three of them have massive jowels, the sign of a man, and they are nice and broad between the eyes. They have good, strong, bold heads.”
He concluded, “One World has a particularly magnificent eye.”
Racegoers will be hoping to see One World in KZN for the SA Champions Season this winter, while breeders might be planning covers for their mares.
However, they will have to wait until next week to find out the route his career will be taking.
By David Thiselton