A Roman Legacy
Varsfontein’s stalwart stallion, Caesour, who died this week left a real mark on the SA stud book.
The sire of over 40 stakes winners (44 at the time of writing), the son of Nureyev never had a crop of registered foal bigger than 50 in number, and still managed to make a real name for himself.
Retired to stud in South Africa in 1996, Caesour’s first crop of 32 foals produced seven stakes performers amongst them. His four stakes winners were Caughtintheslips, Diplomat, the ill-fated Hail Caesour and G2 winner Kiss Me Quick. Emperors’ Dance, subsequent dam of champion Dancewiththedevil, was another stakes performer from this crop as she was second in the Listed Gardenia Handicap to G1 winner Velvet Green. Another smart broodmare, Hello Dolly, was from her sire’s first crop – and she went on to produce Gr2 Gold Circle Oaks winner Goat.
The stallion’s second crop was less successful producing just three stakes placed runners (and the dam of the top-class Tales of Bravery), but Caesour’s third crop was his best. From just 42 registered foals, Caesour was represented by six stakes winners – and two G1 winners.
His versatility was clearly demonstrated with this crop producing G1 Cape Flying Championship (1000m) winner O Caesour and Gr2 Gold Bowl (3200m) hero The Eiger Sanction. Resolution Bay, winner of the Cape Breeders Stakes and subsequent dam of the ill-fated Gr1 Paddock Stakes winner Emerald Cove, was another member of this crop.
However, it was another filly, Perfect Promise, who was the star in Caesour’s 1999 crop. Winner of the Cape Fillies Guineas on the disqualification of original winner Tara’s Touch, Perfect Promise became the first SA bred horse ever to win a G1 race in Australia, when she won the 2006 C F Orr Stakes. During her career, Perfect Promise won over $800,000 in prize money. Now at stud in Australia, Perfect Promise has bred one winner to date, and is in foal to leading young sire Hard Spun.
His next crop produced only one stakes winner, but that was one of Caesour’s best sons, Tobe Or Nottobe. Currently standing at the Hemel ‘n Aarde Stud, Tobe Or Nottobe was a top-class racehorse, who won his first seven races in a row including the Gr1 Cape Flying Championship.
Caesour’s 2001 crop numbered just 35 live registered foals, but they included four stakes horses, including Irridescence. A full sister to Perfect Promise, Irridescence was a tremendous racemare, who was an Equus Champion in South Africa before going on to bigger and better things overseas. Her eight victories included a win over the great Ouija Board in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Hong Kong. Irridescence is currently at stud in Kentucky.
Another classy filly from this crop was Chant De Nuit, winner of the G2 Camellia Stakes, and seven other races.
Remarkably, Caesour’s very next crop yielded yet another international graded stakes winner. His daughter, Alexandra Rose, took the Gr1 Golden Slipper in South Africa before going to the USA and landing the Gr3 Monrovia Handicap.
This feat was followed up by Dane Julia, one of Caesour’s best fillies. She was one of 28 registered foals in her sire’s 2003 foal crop. Out of a Danehill mare, Dane Julia was unbeaten in her first five starts, which included a win in the Gr1 SA Fillies Classic. Subsequently exported, Dane Julia continued her sire’s remarkable run overseas when she became the first SA bred to win a G1 contest in New Zealand. The mare won the G1 NZ Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes at the expense of a high-class field.
The 2003 crop also produced Roman Circus, dam of subsequent G1 SA Derby dead heater, Royal Bencher.
Caesour’s following crop produced Gr2 Astrapak 1900 dead heater Golden Chariot.
His 2005 produced a trio of stakes winners including G1 winner Regal Ransom (G1 President’s Challenge) and classy filly Empress Crown.
SA Oaks winner Arcola was the star turn from Caesour’s 2006 crop. His final three crops have, to date, produced a stakes winner apiece, with Val de Ra’s half brother Tevez, Caesour’s best performed 3yo to date.
The stallion had another highlight when his sons, A Boy Named Sue and River Crossing, ran 1-2 in the Gr3 Chairman’s Cup this year.
While never the most commercial sire in the sales ring, Caesour’s stock did fetch up to R800 000 – with Tevez himself fetching R700 000.
Far and away the best sire son of the great Nureyev ever to come to South Africa, Caesour is a stallion who made his mark globally.