The Ceres based farm Daytona Stud has become synonymous with the breeding of top class thoroughbreds.
Daytona, which is managed by part owner Mike Barnard, was originally started by Dr Frank Freeman and his family, before being taken over by Arthur Pfaff. When Arthur passed away, Daytona was taken over by his widow Ingrid.
At the passing of Ingrid, Daytona was purchased by Robin Hamilton and Mike Barnard in 1999, in whose hands the farm is still owned. Mike feels the climate and location of Ceres is a huge positive for the farm, whose number of top class horses produced increases annually. Mike himself is not from a racing background, but spent an eight year stint working at Kingswood Stud after finishing up at Cedara Agriculture College in KZN. He then moved to Daytona from Kingswood Stud.
While the number of mares at Daytona has been reduced, Mike feels this is a positive for the individual quality of horse produced by the farm.
Daytona has been associated with a number of top class racehorses and champions, but one of the most important horses connected with the farm is the late, great sire Elliodor.
A son of champion sire and broodmare sire Lyphard, Elliodor came to the farm back in 1981 – and Mike firmly believes that he was the most influential horse connected with Daytona at the time of writing.
A really well bred horse (his dam was a sister to champion and successful sire Busted), Elliodor battled early on to get much support – and his first crop contained just 14 registered foals.
However, this crop contained his greatest son and South Africa’s first equine millionaire Model Man. A truly great horse, Model Man’s wins included five at Gr1, including the J&B Met, and he went on to become a successful stallion and broodmare sire. Elliodor’s first crop contained two other black type winners, including EP Derby winner Eli’s Star, who himself went on to enjoy success at stud – from very limited opportunities, the son of Elliodor left behind the Gr1 winners Eli’s Game and Eli’s Truth.
Success continued for Elliodor, who went on to leave behind 78 stakes winners. Remarkably, this magnificent sire (whose third crop contained just five live foals), was represented by 43 individual Gr1 performers, with his stars including three Gr1 Paddock Stakes winners, as well as Gr1 winners Eldoriza, Forest Trogon, Lord Shirldor and July hero Super Quality. He was also an outstanding broodmare sire, with his daughters producing the likes of Aslan, Cordocelli, Dog Wood, Kotchka, and Val De Ra- to name but a few.
Mike fondly remembers Elliodor as “Elliodor had a lovely temperament and was one of the easiest horses to work with.” Sadly, Daytona has just one remaining daughter of this wonderful sire still active at stud.
Other successful sires to have stood at Daytona include Qui Danzig and Sportsworld – both of whose broodmare daughters have become extremely successful at stud. The Elliodor/Sportsworld cross became a highly successful one, with the nick producing the likes of stakes winners Gay Regina, Tastevin and Sportscuddle.
Daytona no longer stands stallions, as the farm’s downsizing and modern day expenses make it a considerable risk. However, Mike and Rob have purchased shares in numerous stallions to provide them with many options for their broodmare band.
The list of outstanding racehorses bred at Daytona is a long one. Two of the farms most famous graduates, Tiza and What A Winter, have both now retired. The Goldkeeper gelding Tiza was a magnificent sprinter who won group/graded races in both France and South Africa . The tough and classy Tiza kept winning until the ripe old age of 10 and was a great credit to the toughness of horse produced at Daytona. At the time of retirement, Tiza had 12 career wins to his name. His dam, the Elliodor mare Mamushka, is in foal to Judpot, but Mike plans to retire her after this foaling.
Multiple Equus Champion What A Winter was one of the finest sprinters to race in South Africa for many a year. The R3 million earner is standing at Drakenstein Stud, where his quality first foals have impressed many breeders lucky enough to have them. Daytona is among the breeders who have committed to this magnificent son of champion sire Western Winter, and hopefully he can reproduce his success What A Winter enjoyed on the track. The farm also has a half sister to the former champion, who Mike is hopeful can further add to this family’s success.
Other top class performers bred by Daytona include former Gr1 Cape Fillies Guineas winner Sport’s Chestnut, Gr1 Allan Robertson Fillies Championship victress Geepee S, R1.7 million earner Whiteline Fever, and ill-fated KZN Champion What A Question (a Qui Danzig half brother to What A Winter).
The farm is also responsible for a number of really promising sorts currently in training. These included Listed MIchaelmas Handicap winner Bold Inspiration and his talented three parts brother Line Break and Ultimate Dollar. The latter pair were both victorious at the recent J&B Met meeting, and both look smart sorts in the making.
Mike, in his private capacity, also bred the 2001 J&B Met winner Bunter Barlow, and remains really keen to breed a July winner.
While Daytona has a classy line up yearlings for the country’s various sales (including half sisters to all of Rabbatache, Whiteline Fever and Ultimate Dollar), he believes more in the production of top class thoroughbreds rather than aiming to please the rather fickle trends found in the sales ring. He says, “This can been seen when you look at our AEPR – we only produce an average of 15 – 17 yearlings per year yet consistently have one of the highest AEPR.”
With a record of producing outstanding racehorses consistently, and some extremely promising prospects for the future, Daytona is one farm who looks sure to be in the headlines once again.