Historic Group 1 double for Redoute's Choice

Before Saturday, Redoute’s Choice already had a same-track, same-day Group 1 double on his extraordinary record. That was achieved more than a decade ago, when Nadeem & Snitzel won the Blue Diamond and the Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield on 25 February 2006.

But a Group 1 double at the same meeting by two full brothers, bought from the same vendor & breeders by the same owner and prepared by the same trainer? Surely that’s beyond even this bar-raising, mould-breaking, three-time Champion sire?

Here’s the news: it isn’t. On Champions Day at Turffontein in South Africa Sheikh Hamdan’s colts Mustaaqeem and Rafeef, both by Redoute’s Choice out of South African Horse of the Year National Colour and both Arrowfield Inglis Easter graduates, won Group 1 races within three hours of each other.

With only a (very impressive) debut win behind him, 2YO Mustaaqeem started favourite in the R1 million South African Nursery 1160m G1 and stalked the early leaders until Callan Murray set him alight 400 metres from home. The colt sprinted smoothly away from his rivals to score by 4 lengths from his stablemate Naafer in 1:05.80. 

Watch Mustaaqeem win the Turffontein SA Nursery G1.
Speaking from Newmarket, UK after the victory, Angus recalled inspecting Mustaaqeem at the 2016 Inglis Easter Sale.

“I thought he was outstanding, with a very classy look. He was really well-balanced with a lovely head, and a ready-made stallion if he could run. And I got him on my very last bid, thank god!”

That bid was $1.75 million, the third highest price of the Sale and more than twice the $800,000 Shadwell Stud paid for Rafeef at the 2014 Inglis Easter Sale.

Rafeef, with a larger frame to grow into, required more time to develop but has found top sprinting form this season, winning four of his six starts including the Hawaii S. G2 and now the R1 million Computaform Sprint 1000m G1.

Watch Rafeef win the Turffontein Computaform Sprint G1.

Like his brother, Rafeef was bred by Arrowfield in partnership with Klawervlei Stud and is prepared for Sheikh Hamdan by champion trainer Mike de Kock. National Colour, herself a three-time Group 1 winner, has a yearling filly by Snitzel (bought by Arrowfield for $675,000 at Inglis Easter), a weanling colt by Redoute’s Choice and is again in foal to him.

The brothers take Redoute’s Choice’s tally of Group 1 winners to 32, among 146 lifetime stakeswinners. Mustaqeem is the supersire’s eighth Group 1 juvenile winner and joins Ardrossan, successful earlier on Saturday in New Zealand, on his list of 36 2YO stakeswinners.

They are two of the half-dozen stakeswinners that have already emerged from Arrowfield’s Yearling Class of 2016 after Invader (ATC Sires’ Produce S. G1), Gunnison (ATC Todman S. G2), Pariah (ATC Canonbury S. G3) and Azazel (MVRC Inglis Banner (R) LR).

That’s not the end of the database updates required after racing on 6 May. Robert Sangster S. G1 winner Secret Agenda, Rafeef and Mustaqeem boost the number of Arrowfield Group 1 graduates to sixty-four, a figure that Not A Single Doubt’s daughter Kenedna (2nd, Australasian Oaks G1) and Snitzel’s son Heavenly Blue (3rd, South African Derby G1) came close to increasing.

On the Australian General Sires’ premiership, Snitzel has quietly slipped past Street Cry this week to claim the top spot with $12.8 million and Not A Single Doubt is fifth with $9.4 million. Even with six offshore performers among his 15 stakeswinners this term, Redoute’s Choice has enough domestic firepower to sit just outside the top 10 with prizemoney of $5.8 million.

Zappy Choice wins at Turffontein

Almost a year after one grey daughter of Redoute’s Choice was named South Africa’s Champion 2YO Filly, a second grey 2YO filly by the champion sire has scored a dominant maiden win at Turffontein.

The now 3YO Majmu has progressed to win twice at Group 1 level in South Africa this season and is a leading contender for the Vodacom Durban July G1 next Saturday 4 July.

Zappy Choice was having only her third start in the San Michele Maiden Juvenile Plate at Turffontein, but tellingly it was her first attempt at 1600 metres and she clearly relished it.

She jumped well for jockey Gavin Lerena, settled comfortably in the lead and quickly gapped the field when asked to extend around 500 metres from home. Rock of Laudium and the favourite Youcanrockme reduced Zappy Choice’s advantage slightly over the closing stages but she kept up a strong gallop to win by two lengths.

Watch Zappy Choice’s win here – courtesy of the Racing Association

Like Majmu, Zappy Choice is an Arrowfield sale graduate, bought for $85,000 from the 2014 Magic Millions National Yearling Sale by trainer Mike Azzie for his principal owners Adriaan & Rika van Vuuren.

If Zappy Choice can take even a few of the steps Majmu has taken in her career, she has more than enough pedigree appeal to make her a very valuable mare indeed. She was bred by Arrowfield’s joint venture with HH The Aga Khan from the unraced grey mare Zarakiysha (by Kendor), a half-sister to French Group 3 winner Zarshana and the great European Champion Zarkava, unbeaten in seven starts including the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and four other Group 1 races.

Zappy Choice is Zarakiysha’s third foal and third winner, after the Hussonet fillies Zarzing (who won her third race for Tony Noonan at Pakenham on Friday), and the promising staying 3YO Zarzali, prepared by Bart & James Cummings to run fourth in last month’s Queensland Oaks G1.

Zarakiysha delivered her fourth filly, a sister to Zappy Choice, last Spring and is due to foal to Animal Kingdom in October.

Zappy Choice is also closely related to one of the most spectacularly bred foals in Redoute’s Choice’s first French-conceived crop: the Aga Khan’s colt out of Zarkava.