First Met winner for Captain Al
Five times Champion Sire of 2YOS, Captain Al, was represented by his first J&B Met winner, when Hill Fifty Four won the R2.5 million race at Kenilworth on Saturday.
The 5yo gelding, who had been second in the race last year, was also the first Met winner bred by John Koster. Remarkably, each generation of the Koster family have now bred a Met winner!
John did the mating, as he loved the Al Mufti/Sportsworld mating (Hill Fifty Four is closely inbred to one of history’s great matriarchs – Gay Missile). Gay Missile was a top racemare, whose 10 wins included the now Gr1 Ashland Stakes, and her descendants included the likes of A.P. Indy, Summer Squall, and former Champion SA Sire Al Mufti.
In what was a case of firsts all round, Hill Fifty Four also became the first J&B Met winner for leading owners Markus and Ingrid Jooste.
Now a seven time winner, Hill Fifty Four has won over R2.8 million in prize money, and, is currently his sire’s leading male money earner.
Captain Al’s 43 stakes winners no fewer than 23 Gr1 performers – seven of whom have won at the highest level.
With Hill Fifty Four winning the Met, Captain Al emulated his sire, Al Mufti, who also sired a Met winner – 2005 victor, Alastor.
The 2014 J&B Met champion lost his dam, Sports Dance, when he was a foal. Sports Dance, who was one of four Sportsworld mares represented in the 2014 Met field, is the first Sportsworld mare to produce a Grade One winner.
Sports Dance, who won twice up to 1600m, is a half-sister to the stout stakes winner Seven Hero’s (Aquanaut Handicap). Her dam, Seven Dances, was a daughter of world leading broodmare sire Dancing Champ and Gr2 SA Oaks winner Seven Stars. The latter is also the third dam of 2014 Met also run, Hot Ticket.
This is the same family as SA Gr1 winner As Ever and Broodmare Of The Year, Loyal Linda (dam of G1 winners Succesful Bidder, Gold Flier and Trust Antonia).
Sadly, Sports Dance suffered a broad ligament haemorrhage giving birth to the eventual Met winner, and failed to leave behind a filly. (Sports Dance left behind just one other foal, a colt full brother to Hill Fifty Four).