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Farewell Kaapstad, 23 October 1984 - 8 May 2006

The 1988-89 edition of the excellent, but short-lived Raceform, an Australasian version of Timeform's famous annual publication, included this listing:

"…appeared only twice, early spring; managed fourth in the Manikato G2 behind Rancho Ruler, Special and Our Westminster then put in a very ordinary run in Rancho Ruler's Memsie Stakes G2 on a very slow track; retired to stud. A very high quality performer; won the VRC Sires' Produce S. G1 at two, took the Ascot Vale Stales G2 at three and when sent over 2400 metres failed by a head behind Celtic Spirit to win the SAJC Derby G1.
His half-sister Diamond Lover (Sticks And Stones) was a brilliant filly who won the ARC Railway Handicap G1; dam Eight Carat is a non-winning half-sister to the Champion European three-year-old sprinter of 1983, Habibti (f Habitat)….quite a striking individual; he had the speed to run 1200 metres against the best and was able to stay 2400 metres although not as effectively; blinkers; a son of Sir Tristram, his progeny will be of great interest."

Sir Tristram-Eight Carat (GB) by Sticks And Stones
PHOTO: Windsor Park Stud
The horse was Kaapstad, bred in New Zealand by the late Robert Sangster's Swettenham Stud and purchased for $4 million to stand at the Schick family's Windsor Park Stud, Cambridge after his VRC Sires' Produce Stakes victory. Eighteen years later, as the industry marks his death at Windsor Park on Monday evening, we can look back with gratitude at how well he has fulfilled the promise of his high-class race record and pedigree.

The pedigree has since become world-famous, with so much black type that a catalogue page cannot contain it. Kaapstad's dam Eight Carat left a further three Group One winners at Cambridge Stud: Australian Horse of the Year Octagonal and the brilliant Mouawad (both by Sir Tristram's champion sire son Zabeel), and Marquise (by Gold And Ivory). Eight Carat, her daughters and grand-daughters have established a diamond dynasty of Group winners, the latest being De Beers, a son of Kaapstad's three-quarter sister Tristalove, herself a two-time Group One winner, and also dam of G1 Viking Ruler, G2 Kempinsky and SW Diamond Like.

Such has been the Eight Carat tribe's success, that four younger Eight Carat descendants remain at stud in New Zealand: Colombia, Don Eduardo, I Conquer and Viking Ruler; and several in Australia, among them Octagonal, Commands,Danewin and Viscount.

It was Kaapstad, however, who led the way for the family's astounding stud success in Australasia, and his quality was evident from his first crop of 47 foals, born in 1989. It included six stakeswinners, among them two of his finest performers, the brilliant miler Golden Sword (AJC Epsom H. G1, VATC Toorak H. G1) and Kaaptive Edition, a champion two-year-old in New Zealand who went on to win the STC Tancred S. G1 at three.

His second crop featured Doncaster Handicap G1 winner Sprint By, Counties Cup G2 winner Kapitain Kash, Tasmanian Derby G3 winner Ashley Grove and three other stakeswinners. Dual G1 winner Love Dance arrived in his third crop, and a year later came his second Doncaster winner, Catalan Opening, also winner of the VRC Cantala S. G1 and the Hong Kong International Bowl G2, along with G2-winning fillies Faience and Cruzeiro.

Trentham Telegraph H. G1 winner Vegas was foaled in 1993, in a crop that also included stakeswinners Full Noise and Kap The Bid. Kaapstad, whose fertility was never outstanding, sired 53 foals in his largest, 1994 crop. That produced seven stakeswinners, among them the last of his seven G1 winners to date, Tall Poppy, victorious at that level over 1400, 1600 and 2000 metres.
Kaapstad's foals of racing age total 705, of which 512 have made the racetrack and 365 have won. To date 43 (6.1% of foals) are stakeswinners. His best performers this season have been Group-placegetters Black Panther and Cinderella Man, SP Juerga, and the good filly Kruger Valley, fourth in the WRC New Zealand Oaks G1.

It's not surprising that Kaapstad sired 53 foals from mares by his fellow Windsor Park resident Star Way, and the cross was successful, producing four stakeswinners and four stakes-placed horses, the best of them being Kapitain Kash and Kaapeon, both winners of the Counties Cup G2. However, he had an even better strike rate with daughters of Vice Regal and Vain, and, from smaller numbers, Noble Bijou and Zamazaan.
Kaapstad's highest position on the New Zealand general sire premiership was third in 1997-98 and 2000-01, and he occupied the same position on Dewar Stallion Trophy table in 1995-96 and 1997-98. He was also champion Australian sire (by average earnings index) in 1992-93. This season he's had 20 New Zealand winners and prizemoney totalling almost $350,000.
It's very possible that Kaapstad will prove even more successful in the second remove of pedigrees than he has been as a sire. His daughters have already left 24 (4.2%) stakeswinners from 569 foals of racing age. They include dual Australian G1 winner Perlin, a trio of top-drawer New Zealand juveniles, Winged Foot, Kapiston and Grout, 2004 Hong Kong Champion Miler Lucky Owners and G1-winning filly Star Satire.
Kaapstad stood his entire stud career at the Schick family's Windsor Park Stud, whose general manager Steve Till is full of appreciation for the horse. "These occasions are always very sad, particularly when the association spans over eighteen years. He was a wonderful animal in every respect and we will miss him. We can't estimate the contribution Kaapstad has made both to our operation and the wider breeding and racing industry, but we know it's hugely significant.

"He's kept good health until very recently and we did not want our mate to suffer in any way so in that sense the decision was made easier. He has enjoyed the best we have been able to give him in every way for many years now. If we ever have another as good we will be fortunate indeed. Of course, we still have his old mate next door!"

That "old mate" is champion sire Star Way, now twenty-nine years old and still on the Windsor Park roster, though available only to a very limited number of mares, for the coming season.

- Susan Archer


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