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story posted Tuesday 14th August 2007 16:51

CAPE Verdi's fitting tribute to Sangster legacy

IT WAS APPROPRIATE that Cape Verdiís name should re-emerge among the race results section this past weekend as news of the Swettenham Stud worldwide dispersal was announced, writes Emma Berry.

Ten years ago Cape Verdi (pictured) carried Robert Sangsterís colours to edge out Sheikh Mohammedís Embassy in the Lowther Stakes when trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam. She could manage only fourth to Embassy a month later in the Cheveley Park Stakes but burst back onto the scene with a five-length romp in the 1000 Guineas having been bought by Godolphin in the close season. Her ninth place at Epsom Ė in the coltsí Classic rather than the filliesí Ė marked a bold bit of race planning and the last time a filly ran in the Derby.

On Saturday and Sunday her third and fourth foals, both by Giantís Causeway , graced the winnerís enclosure within 24 hours of each other. Four-year-old Benandonner closed out the Shergar Cup competition in style, securing victory for the Rest Of The World team and individual honours for visiting Australian jockey Hugh Bowman, with a win in the Mile. His year younger sister Salsa Verdi, sporting the Godolphin blue like her mother, made her third racecourse appearance a winning one, having been placed twice this season. She took a nine-furlong Wolverhampton maiden from Oaks runner Sues Surprise. When reviewing the history of Sangsterís great breeding and racing operation Cape Verdi is likely to figure prominently, as is Peter Chapple-Hyam, whose training career is currently enjoying an emphatic resurgence, thanks to the exploits of Authorized, Tariq, Dutch Art, Winker Watson and co.

She is not the only Swettenham graduate to have provided Classic glory for the Maktoum family. Four years earlier, the great Balanchine , was another high-profile Godolphin purchase from Sangster after her two-year-old campaign. She went on to win the Oaks and the Irish Derby after being beaten a head in the Guineas. City Honours, who changed hands the same year as Cape Verdi, came agonisingly close, too, when failing in a photo against High-Rise.

Balanchine and Cape Verdi both retired to Gainsborough Studís broodmare band, and that organisation claims the honours for the breeding of Benandonner and Salsa Verdi. Since the death of Sheikh Maktoum, the mares now fall under the Darley banner. Cape Verdiís first foal was Arctic Silk, by Selkirk, who was placed for Godolphin. In her second year at stud, she was one of a select band of mares to visit Dubai Millennium. The resultant filly, named Dubai Opera, was unraced but has been retained by Darley for breeding. After producing her Giantís Causeway duo, Cape Verdi remained in America, visiting Gone West then Elusive Quality before being rested a year and returning to the UK to be covered by Pivotal this season.

Balanchine, too, has been a useful mare for Gainsborough. Her best produce Gulf News, by Woodman, was a dual winner and finished second to Sulamani in the Prix Niel, while Ibtecar, a son of Seeking The Gold, was another consistent performer, predominantly in the UAE.

The pair will be hard pushed to emulate Swettenham Studís Magnificient Style , who will undoubtedly cause an awe-inspired hush to fall over whichever sales ring she appears in if she comes up for public auction. In 2004, three of her offspring Ė Echoes In Eternity, Percussionist and Playful Act (the last two being full siblings by Sadlerís Wells) Ė all recorded Group wins in the same season.

A postscript on the subject should be awarded to the somewhat less illustrious but nevertheless remarkable posthumous achievement of the Mummyís Game mare Fire Sprite, dam of Ayr Gold Cup winner Always Alight. She was responsible for the Rock City siblings Ignition and English Archer, both of whom won on the same card at Hamilton on 19 July, much to the delight of their owner/breeder Michael Hyman, who also owns the stallion.

A similar double at Stakes level came close to being posted at Calder on Sunday when three-year-old colt Yesbyjimminy landed the Listed Eillo Stakes, while his seven-year-old half-brother Magic Mecke took third in the Vid Stakes. A third brother, A J Melini, was a Listed winner at Calder back in May so there remains the engaging, if unlikely, possibility of a same-card treble.



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