National winner for former Cape sire
The late champion Second Empire, who spent the final part of his stud career in South Africa, is the sire of Auroras Encore – the 66-1 winner of Saturday’s John Smith’s Grand National Chase.
Auroras Encore, winning for the second time in eight starts, had previously been second in the Scottish National – but made no mistakes on Saturday when he won the world’s most famous steeplechase by nine lengths.
Second Empire, who died in 2011, was a son of Fairy King, whose full brother, Sadler’s Wells, has proved a potent influence on the National Hunt world.
Trained by Aidan O’Brien, Second Empire (whose half-brother Ihtiram sired the great Australian sprinter Miss Andretti) was Ireland’s champion 2yo in 2007. Unbeaten at two, Second Empire won four races, including the G1 Grand Criterium, and later ran third in the Irish 2000 Guineas.
Retired to stud in Ireland, Second Empire was subsequently exported to South Africa in 2004.
His best local runners include the top-class Tropical Empire, whose 11 wins included both the Gr2 Astrapak 1900 and Drill Hall Stakes, and the smart, stakes winning filly Silver Empire.
His South African stakes winners also include the smart filly Miss Scaramanga and the exported Star Empire. The latter, a multiple winner in Dubai, ran fifth in the recent Gr3 Dubai Gold Cup on World Cup night.
Second Empire died in 2011 after he broke a leg following surgery. He was 16 at the time of his death.