Cheveley Stud’s wonderfully prolific broodmare Aquasarto, dam of no fewer than five stakes winners-including two Grade One winners-, has died. The remarkable daughter of Del Sarto was 31 years old and had been retired from stud for the past few years. Remarkably, her five stakes winners were by four different stallions –a testimony to the class of Aquasarto!
Aquasarto, who was unraced, was purchased from Godfrey Gird by Wilfred and Peter Wright ( Peter knew the family well as he had owned Sea Diamond). Shirley fondly recalls that Wilfred initially bought Aquasarto for her to have in partnership with Peter, however as soon as she started to do well at stud she suddenly returned to the stud’s possession. Aquasarto was a well related mare- her siblings included three stakes winners in Breeze Past, Nureyev and Uncut, while a half sister, Sea Owl, produced the Gr1 Xerox Copiers Challenge winner Cool Success, who herself went on to become a stakes producer.
However, it was Aquasarto and her offspring who proved the star turn of this female line.
Her progeny won no fewer than 46 races, with Aquasarto produced foals winning or placing in no fewer than 25 feature races.
Aquasarto’s first stakes winner was the Fine Edge filly Finest View, whose four wins included the Gr1 SA Fillies Guineas, where she accounted for the likes of champions Arabian Lass and Special Key, as well as the high class fillies Gleaming Sky, Marlin Bay and Wild Aster. Also beaten on that occasion was subsequent outstanding broodmare Ever Seeking (dam of champion Elusive Fort).
While not as successful as her dam, Finest View, has enjoyed some success at stud –with her offspring numbering five winners among them.
Aquasarto’s next runner to make headlines was her 1998 colt foal by Western Winter. Later gelded, Simply Salmon (a first runner and winner for Western Winter) was a top class racehorse, who won first time out by nearly five lengths. He went on to win nine more races including the Listed Wolf Power Handicap, with Simply Salmon earning more than R500 000 in his career.
Sent to Elliodor, Aquasarto’s very next foal was the top class filly Oceana, who was one of the best of her age at both two and three. An impressive winner on debut, Oceana was runner up in both the Gr1 Allan Robertson Fillies Championship and (now Gr1) Thekwini Stakes at two, before going on to land both the Listed Starling Stakes and Listed (now Gr3) Three Troikas Stakes as a sophomore. Among the fillies beaten in the Three Troikas was subsequent Australian Gr1 winner Perfect Promise and future Equus Champion Jamaica.
Since retiring to stud, Oceana has produced two winners including the very talented stakes performer Nova Zembla (by Western Winter).
She is currently in foal to Silvano and has a Gimmethegreenlight foal. Oceana also has a Dynasty colt on offer at this year’s National Sale in Germiston.
Sent to talented but sub-fertile sire Goldkeeper, Aquasarto produced the high class galloper Marine Sands, who proved to be a high class sprinter. Marine Sands scored his biggest win in the Gr3 Graham Beck Stakes and ran third to champion Candidato Roy in what is now the Gr1 Gold Medallion.
However, Aquasarto’s greatest foal arrived when his dam was 20 years old. This was Equus Champion 2yo Colt of 2007 Argonaut.
A son of Western Winter, and thus a full brother to Simply Salmon, the handsome chestnut is widely regarded as one of the finest juveniles to race in South Africa in recent years.
Argonaut made just four racetrack appearances but won three most impressively. After winning on debut (beating subsequent Gr2 Dingaans winner Lion’s Blood), Argonaut finished a close up second to Seventh Rock in the Gr1 Gold Medallion.
He ended off his 2yo campaign with facile wins in both the Gr1 Golden Horseshoe (winning by 2.5 lengths) and the Gr1 Premier’s Champion Stakes (by five length) and was the unanimous choice as Champion 2YO Colt.
Sent to race in Australia, Argonaut unfortunately never made the track and eventually returned to South Africa to take up stud duties.
Cheveley’s Vaughan Koster said of the matriarch’s passing, “Aquasarto was a tremendous foundation mare for us. She really put Cheveley on the map, and was one of the toughest and most resilient broodmares I have come across. She produced five stakes winners (two Grade One winners), and remarkably gave us 15 foals in 15 years. She foaled Argonaut when she was 20 years old and really was an incredibly consistent and reliable producer. With her quirky nature and at times down-right stubborn streak, she was a favourite on the farm. She was a real character and will be missed”