Nicky Bartlett’s Danika Stud has bred a number of champions over the years. From the likes of King’s Gambit (Equus Champion Stayer in 2008) to Kochka (Equus Champion 2YO Colt/Gelding of 2013) in recent times, Danika has been a wonderful nursery of champion racehorses.
Based in Sardinia Bay just outside Port Elizabeth, Basil and Nicky Bartlett started the farm in 1989. Nicky has long loved horses, having played polo crosse and rode from a very early age. The couple started out in the game when they purchased a few mares from Ascot Stud, and things took off from there.
When Basil died tragically, Nicky kept Danika going. A flood of classy performers have emerged from Danika since, including the above mentioned Kings Gambit and Kochka, as well as Gr1 President’s Challenge hero Happy Landing and classy sprinter National Title.
One of the stud’s highlights came in the form of Fort Wood gelding Zanzamar. Not only did the well bred gelding bring the top price ever for Danika (he was a R800 000 buy from the 2009 National Sale), but Zanzamar went on to compete successfully in Dubai. Zanzamar, who was trained by Mike de Kock, won twice in the UAE and was also second in the Gr3 UAE 2000 Guineas and fourth in the Gr2 UAE Derby.
She admits to having a soft spot for former star racemare Lady Brompton, as Danika both bred and raced the star daughter of Al Mufti. A really classy performer, Lady Brompton won seven races including the Gr1 Spring Challenge and, the then, Gr2 Empress Club Stakes.
Lady Brompton went onto greatness at stud, with her offspring include champion Kings Gambit. An Equus Champion and classic winner, Kings Gambit (who was from the first South African crop of his sire Silvano), won three times in South Africa including the Gr1 SA Derby and Gr1 SA Classic, before going onto a successful international campaign. Sent overseas, Kings Gambit became a rare South African bred to triumph in a British pattern race – he won the 2011 G3 Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown.
Unfortunately, Danika has no daughters of their star mare, with the farm having sold the only Danika bred daughter of Lady Brompton at a National Sale earlier on.
Danika sold most of their original broodmares to Wilgerbosdrift in 2012, and Nicky has currently got just 10 mares at the moment. She recently sold a pair of Sail From Seattle colts at the recent Cape Premier Yearling Sale, which were snapped up by Paul Lafferty and Hassen Adams respectively.
Nicky, who understandably loves Al Mufti mares, plans her matings based on conformation and pedigree. She likes a potential broodmare to have a quality head and good overall conformation, as well as a strong pedigree. Nicky, who has been involved with the breeding of five Grade 1 winners, also believes in the importance of patience, great knowledge and good broodmares.
Danika was also home to former sprint star Flobayou (whom Nicky describes as a special favourite), prior to his death from heart failure a few years ago.
As the sire of Kings Gambit, it comes as no surprise to hear that Silvano ranks as Nicky’s favourite sire. The son of Lomitas is also the sire of another Danika bred Gr1 horse Kings Cross. She also admires Ascot Stud’s promising and successful young sire Sail From Seattle (“he is throwing lovely foals”) and former champion sprinter What A Winter.
She is also enjoying success as an owner, as Nicky is a part owner in talented stayer Kingston Mines, whose sire Archipenko Nicky had a share in. A really smart sort, Kingston Mines’ victories including a storming victory in the recent Gr2 JandU Urban Honey Stayers on J&B Met day.
While Danika Stud has certainly enjoyed plenty of success, Nicky is still hopeful of more big race wins over the coming years, and says the July is the one South African race she would like most to win.