South Africa

The Rise of the Duke

2015-07-16 14:25

Cape Town - Last Sunday Sunday when Nutan (Ireland) came home five lengths clear in the prestigious G1 Deutsches Derby in Hamburg, Germany, it marked the third European classic won by the progeny of Duke of Marmalade in less than three months.

The victory came three weeks after his daughter, Star of Seville, led the field home in the G1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) at Chantilly after suffering severe interference in the G1 Epsom Oaks (English Oaks) only days earlier.

These victories moved the five-time Group 1 winning Duke of Marmalade into 7th on the list of Leading Sires in Europe and 4th on the list for Leading Sires of Three Year Olds in Europe, complimenting his 2014 season where he concluded the year as Leading 3rd Crop Sire in Europe.

Duke of Marmalade is based at Drakenstein Stud in South Africa and the success of this stallion echoes of deje vu for the stud based near Cape Town which is getting into the habit of purchasing sires from the Northern Hemisphere which are on the rise.

In 2008, Drakenstein purchased G1 Vosburgh Stakes winner Trippi (USA) while he was based at Ocala Stud in Florida. At the time of his acquisition Trippi had sired only two Graded Stakes Winners among 11 Stakes Winners. The deal couldn’t have been concluded at a better time. Jealous Again (USA) would win the G2 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot by five lengths, two months before Trippi’s first foals were to be born in South Africa in August 2009.

In the years that followed R Heat Lightning (USA) would emerge as one of the leading two year olds of her generation in USA, winning the G1 Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga by four lengths before running second in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. R Heat Lightning looked to be a serious contender for the 2011 G1 Kentucky Oaks winning the G2 Davona Dale Stakes by 7¼ lengths and the G2 Gulfstream Oaks by 8¼ lengths before injury curtailed her career.

There was hype around the stallion by the time Trippi’s yearlings went through the sales ring in South Africa for the first time in 2011, and that hype proved justified when he emerged as Champion Freshman Sire in South Africa in 2012. Since then Trippi has established himself as one of the leading stallions in the country, having sired 57 Stakes Winners and 20 Graded Stakes winners, including four Grade 1 winners among which is this year’s dual G1 winner Inara (SAf). He is currently the Leading Sire of Three Year Olds in South Africa and involved in a tightly competitive race for Champion Sire.

The famous Coolmore Stud in Ireland sold Duke of Marmalade to Drakenstein Stud in May 2014. At the time the Champion son of Danehill had only produced three Group winners among thirteen Stakes Winners. In the year that followed, “the Duke”, as he is affectionately referred to at Drakenstein, has sired eleven Graded/Group Stakes Winners including two Group One winners in Star of Seville and Nutan.

The Graded Stakes winners coming as far afield as France, Australia, UK, South Africa, Italy, and Germany. Venus de Milo looked to become the Duke’s first G1 winner last June when she failed by one slot in last year’s G1 Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh. Top sprinter in South Africa, Moofeed, won the G3 Tommy Hotspur before narrow defeats in two subsequent G2 events.

Big Memory became the sire’s first G2 winner in October 2014 when victorious in the MRC Herbert Power Handicap in Australia, while his daughter Sound of Freedom won Duke of Marmalade’s first Classic this season when winning the G3 Rome Premio Regina Elena (Italian 1000 Guineas) before running second in the G2 Rome Derby Italiano against the colts. Star of Seville and Nutan have since cemented his rise.

British racehorse trainer John Gosden has always spoken highly of the G3 Musidora Stakes and G1 Prix de Diane winner, Star of Seville, and his latest comments indicate the next target for the talented filly to be the G1 Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.  It looks as though the story of the Duke of Drakenstein is only just getting started...

See link for video on Duke of Marmalade:

Duke of Marmalade arriving at Drakenstein

Read more on:    horseracing

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