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Oratorio scores on two continents!

Avontuur Thoroughbred Farm’s successful sire Oratorio, who has enjoyed such a great season with his 2yos in 2017-2018, had another good weekend.

Danehill’s triple G1 winning son had a pair of South African winners to his name over the weekend, and is also broodmare sire of the very exciting Irish 2yo Servalan.

Oratorio

The latter (a first stakes winner for sire No Nay Never) won Sunday’s Listed Coolmore Stud Irish EBF Fillies’ Sprint Stakes over 1200m at Naas for trainer Jessica Harrington and jockey Seamie Heffernan.

Servalan, who is likely to be aimed at Royal Ascot following her maiden stakes win on Sunday, was produced by the winning Oratorio mare Catch The Eye.

However, Sunday’s feature race winner is not the first high class performer produced by an Oratorio daughter, with others including recent Australian G3 winner Paquirri, Viren’s Army (Dee Stakes) and G3 Athasi Stakes winner Dolce Strega.

Oratorio, a dual Champion Sire in Italy, also had a pair of winners in South Africa over the weekend. His Sacred Touch romped to an effortless 2.75 length 2200m maiden win on Friday for breeders Golden Touch Thoroughbred Services and trainer Grant Paddock.

Oratorio was also responsible for Divine Odyssey, who picked up his second career win, from six outings, when victorious over 1600m at Turffontein on Sunday. The 3yo, who was bred by Laurence Werners, was produced by the Dynasty mare Divine Right.

Oratorio will also be represented in Saturday’s G1 Tsogo Sun Gold Medallion by three sons – Cue The Music, DI Me and Val Halen, while his daughter Petra is a runner in the same day’s G1 Allan Robertson Championship.

The sire of 50 stakes winners, and counting, Oratorio will also be represented in next weekend’s Cape features by Ancestry (G3 Winter Classic) and Sequined (Listed Olympic Duel Stakes).

Editorial courtesy of Cape Breeders

Cabernet Franc Carnival set to be well-supported again!

The annual Cabernet Franc Carnival, presented by Avontuur Estate tomorrow on Saturday 19 May,  seems to be drawing in the fans again with the tutored tastings of the Top 6 Challenge 2018 wines fully booked already and general festival tickets also selling well.

The Estate will not be open for non-Carnival visitors tomorrow as we are expecting around 400 Cab Franc lovers to descend on the farm from 11-16h00 which will take up most of the public areas and facilities.

If you want to pop in to visit, you can still book tickets at R220 pp at www.plankton.mobi or at the Box Office at the event at R250 pp on the day.  This includes tastings from the 21 wineries exhibiting at the event, a branded tasting glass and a R50 food coupon. 

The Avontuur Restaurant is taking bookings for breakfast and lunch and visitors are welcome to contact them at openhand@polka.co.za or +27 21 855-4296 to book.

Oratorio results heartening for his supporters

The most recent sire rankings came out on 6 May with Oratorio in number two just behind Var in the Leading Sires of 2yo’s by Stakes earnings with R1007 850 off 22 runners.  This is a positive result especially looking back at a tough year health-wise for this trooper, who has recovered fully. 

“He produces classic horses and with them now getting better as they mature, he is firmly established as a sire to watch, in the more mature categories.  However his results again this year in the two year old ratings are most encouraging,  considering his classic bloodlines, “ says Avontuur Estate GM Pippa Mickleburgh,  where he stands at stud.

“We are looking forward to his participation in the Stallion Parade at Highlands Stud in Robertson on Friday 25 May where he will be sharing the limelight with some of SA’s highest rated sires and will not in any way come off other than at the top of this game,” she says.

His win this past month with Cue the Music in the Group race at Scottsville and after an excellent feature win recently with Carlita,  is setting the scene for even better performances with strong support expected at the Scottsville race day on 26 May.

Oratorio is ready for a full season and his bookings are open with the service fee to be announced early June.

April yearling sales prove international support is growing

After a very busy April with two major yearling sales taking place, Avontuur GM Pippa Mickleburgh takes a few minutes to reflect on the past month’s activities: “The industry is adjusting and re-aligning after the many changes recently and at Avontuur we are staying focussed and riding out the changes by being positive and doing what we do best – breed quality race horses!”

According to Pippa the CTS Sale was tough with too many sales close together but Avontuur sold the whole draft and wish all the buyers well with their new purchases.  The TBA sales showed a solid top end with an improved middle market but trading conditions were once again tough. “However there was plenty of international support which really bodes well for the future.  Once we improve our export protocol, which everyone is working hard on, our horses will be much sought-after, in the East in particular,” Pippa comments.

Once again Avontuur sold the whole draft with the top price of R1 000 000 achieved for Double the Fun, sold to Jack Mitchell and Nick Johnson, to be trained by Justin Snaith.   Two colts were also sold to overseas clients with one going to Singapore and another to France, which is good news for us.

As always, without our buyers, trainers and supporters,  we would not be able to run our business,  so once again we wish everyone well with their new purchases and hope to see fireworks on track soon!

 

Macarons & Wine Pairing for Mother’s Day

One of our most popular wine and food pairings over the years has been the Macaron and Wine Pairing and just for the week leading up to Mother’s Day, we’re bringing it back!  From 7 – 13 May during opening hours and whilst stock lasts, this pairing is on the “menu” in the tasting room or on the terrace, weather permitting.

Try three of our wines, the Methode Cap Classique Brut, the Luna de Miel Chardonnay Reserve and the Dominion Royale Shiraz Reserve with a strawberry, vanilla and chilli chocolate macaron and let us know what you think! 

It’s the perfect stop on your wine route visit with Mom and for only R80 pp, it’s a delicious and affordable treat. 

Bookings are essential as there is limited availability.   Contact Ella or Carmen at +27 21 855-3450 or winery@avontuurestate.co.za to book.    

Tutored Tasting Series 2018 Announced

Avontuur Estate winemaker Jan van Rooyen and the Estate’s Tasting Room team are planning a series of “Tutored Tastings” for the winter months. This is an opportunity for wine lovers to interact with a senior winemaker and learn more about the intricacies of this industry we love.  

The series kicks off on Saturday, 12 May from 10h30-12h00 with a tasting attempting to answer the question:  “Can Cabernet Franc age?”  After being awarded a gold medal in the vintage category of the 2018 Cabernet Franc Challenge, the topic seemed apt.  Participants will be privileged to taste some of Avontuur’s vinoteque stock and compare it with currently-on-sale and not-yet-released Cab Francs.   

Saturday, 9 June, 14/7, 11/8 and 8/9 are the dates set for the rest of the winter months, with the first few given over to exploring the senses and their impact on wine tasting and enjoyment. Details about the themes will be communicated closer to the time.

Each tasting is limited to 20 participants and includes a welcome drink, the tasting, a light meal and a coffee for only R130 pp.  Bookings are essential and can be made in the tasting room with Ella or Carmen, by phoning the Estate at +27 21 855-3450 or by emailing winery@avontuurestate.co.za. 

We look forward to sharing some valuable info with you this winter and have fun whilst doing it!

Avontuur Presents the fourth Cab Franc Carnival

The 2018 Cabernet Franc Carnival will once again bring one of the most interesting wine varietals to an adoring public. 

On Saturday, 19 May 2018 from 11-4, the Carnival takes place at scenic Avontuur Estate between Stellenbosch and Somerset West where 21 wineries will be on hand to show off their 100% Cabernet Francs,  Cab Franc-led blends and in some cases even Cab Franc Rosé’s. 

The participating wineries are: Avontuur Estate, Chamonix, Delaire Graff, Doolhof Estate, Druk My Niet Wine Estate, Hermanuspietersfontein Wines, Holden Manz Wines,  Kunjani Wines, Morgenster Wine and Olive Estate,  My Wyn, Onderkloof Wine Estate, Oldenburg Vineyards, Ormonde Vineyards, Raats Family Wines, Rainbow’s End Wine Estate, Snow Mountain Wines – James McKenzie,  Spookfontein Wines, The Garajeest,  Vrede en Lust, Whalehaven, Zevenwacht.

Visitors can taste and buy the wines directly from the wineries.

The interactive tutored tastings of the 2018 Cab Franc Challenge Top 6 wines is an integral part of the Carnival and is often the only place to taste these winning wines due to small volumes produced.  The tastings are presented by convenor of the judging panel and Cape Wine Master, Christine Rudman. Tickets cost R100 pp extra and a limited number of seats per session is available.  Sessions:  11h30, 13h00 and 14h30.

The very popular public “vote” to choose the favourite wine of the day, will again take place which gives an interesting perspective on the differences between expert and amateur palates.  

In addition to the wine-related activities, food trucks, lawn games, background music and a multitude of delicious dining options courtesy of the popular Avontuur Estate Restaurant, keeps the crowds entertained.  Relaxing in the beautiful setting of this family-owned Wine and Thorougbred Stud farm adds to the experience of a unique day out.

Tickets are R220 pp on-line and R250 at the gate, which includes the tastings, a R50 discount coupon to spend on food and a tasting glass.  Tickets from   www.plankton.mobi

Follow us on Facebook at Cabernet Franc Carnival or on Twitter at @Cabfrancarnival . 

 

Oratorio leads the charge for NYS18

With all our yearlings and the thoroughbred stud team safely ensconced  at the TBA Sales complex, we are happy to share them with buyers, trainers and owners for the next few days.  Pop in for a viewing, a glass of wine and snack – we look forward to seeing you.

For more info about the selection, have a look below or visit our sales page at http://www.avontuurestate.co.za/stud/sales2018/.

It’s always wonderful to be proven right and in the case of our highly rated international sire, Oratorio, our policy of “give them time”, seem to be paying off as his progeny make waves on race courses country-wide.

Recently Carlita showed her class in the Listed Eastern Cape Fillies Nursery and a few weeks ago it was the turn of the beautiful grey, Mardi Gras out of Sarabande who won in fine style. We therefore have high hopes for the four Oratorio yearlings, making up the bulk of our crop set for the National Yearling Sale in Gosforth Park at the end of April.

Oratorio yearlings looking good…

We start off with the two colts. First up is Lot 58, Cassimbo out of Torra Bay (AUS) who is a powerful, very attractive horse from an internationally successful female line.  Lot 69 – Vivant – out of Viva is a strong, robust brother to Live Life and Cold as Ice.  “Viva is one of our foundation mares and she hasn’t thrown a colt in a long time, which makes this boy a wonderful surprise,” says Avontuur GM Pippa Mickleburgh.

The two fillies are Lot 310 called Before the Dawn and she is a high quality first foal out of  the Var mare, Varikate.  Lot 327 is out of Without Malice, herself by Jet Master, and according to Pippa you can clearly see the Jet Master looks in this filly called Ode.

Var holding the fort too…

Two fillies and a colt make up our champion sire Var’s contingent.  Lot 98, called Serenity out of Gr 1 winning mare Bambina Stripes (ARG) is a beautiful young lady, whose name suits her perfectly.  The second filly is Lot 210 called Beautiful Mind out of Model IQ.  “She is out of the stalwart line of Wise Dame who has done very well for Avontuur over the years and as Model IQ has mostly thrown colts, it’s wonderful to have this gorgeous Var filly out of her,” Pippa says.  The Var colt is Lot 512 called Big Bay out of Paradise Beach (IRE). He is a racy, athletic bay colt, who looks like a typical speedy VAR.

Captain Al’s legacy lives on…

We’re happy to present Lot 206 Gabreira who is from the last full crop of Champion Sire Captain Al  out of stakes winning mare Miss Ipanema.  He is a big, strong, strapping colt and a half-brother to the talented two year old Carioca, so should do well.

One Captain of All follows, a colt called Candyman out of Candy Vous (ARG).  He is is smart, strong, powerful and full of beans and from a lovely imported female line.

Leading first season sire represented….

Master of my Fate is the current leading first season sire, and it would be amiss not to show off our classy high-quality colt out of Sea of Calm (USA). This is a great family and Lot 26, Seascape should not disappoint.

Lot 418 is a tall, dark and handsome colt called Double the Fun by Twice Over (GB) and out of the imported mare Gaiety Girl (USA). 

Avontuur hosts Cab Franc Challenge 2018 Awards evening

Nine wineries celebrated their achievements in the Cabernet Franc Challenge on Wednesday, 18 April at Avontuur Estate at this year’s Awards ceremony.  Philip Taberer did the honours and handed out the certificates.

Over and above the Top 6, awards were also given for the Top 3 Blends, the Top Vintage wine and a special award for the Best Value Cabernet Franc. The Blends category is a new addition whilst the Best Value is a special award for a great wine at a good price!

“This is the third year of the Challenge and we are lucky that three of the five judges were involved  from the beginning,  which leads to consistency. The judges were myself, Lizette Tolken, Samarie Smith, Anita Streicher-Nel and Tinashe Nyamudoka,” says judging panel convenor Christine Rudman. “Some changes were brought in like the 100 point scoring system which fine tuned the scores much more and obviously we had the new Blend category where Cab Franc had to dominate.”

The Top Six are in alphabetical order:  Anthology Cabernet Franc 2015, Morgenster Cabernet Franc 2015, My Wyn Cabernet Franc 2015, Ondine Cabernet Franc 2014, Rainbow’s End Cabernet Franc Limited Release 2016 and Warwick Cabernet Franc 2015.

The Top Three Blends are Alto Rouge 2016, Kunjani Red Blend 2015 and Morgenster Lourens River Valley 2011.  In the Vintage class Holden Manz wines were top of the list again with their Cabernet Franc Reserve 2013 and Ormonde Ondine Cabernet Franc 2014 richly deserves their special award for the Best Value Wine on show at only R95 per bottle.

“Another interesting aspect is that only 3 of the 50 wines entered were under R100, which shows that winemakers value what they’ve got.  This is not a generic wine category and bargains are basically non-existent.  This year’s Challenge gave a very good overview of the 2015 vintage specifically,  as 26 of the 44 wines entered in the Top 6, were from that vintage,” Christine added.

The judging was done blind and the process and results were audited by Moore Stevens Stellenbosch.

The Top Six Cabernet Francs are exclusively available through Wine of the Month Club as a mixed pack selection, whilst stocks last.

In addition the public can taste the Top Six at the Cabernet Franc Carnival at Avontuur Estate on 19 May at one of three tutored tastings at 11h30, 13h00 and 14h30 respectively.  Only 20 persons per tasting.  The tastings will be presented by Christine Rudman.

Tickets for the Carnival can be bought from www.plankton.mobi at R220 pp or R250 at the gate.  This includes the tastings of 22 of SA’s best Cab Franc producers, a branded glass and a R50 food coupon to spend on the day.   Tickets for the tutored tastings are available at R100 pp on www.plankton.mobi as well and must be pre-booked. More information available at www.cvomarketing.co.za 

Cape Sale Yearlings highlight Avontuur sires.

With six excellent yearlings set for the mid-April CTS sale in Durbanville, Avontuur Thoroughbred Farm is happy with their draft.  See the Breeding to Win video here to find out more… https://youtu.be/Mjf-Wv5IX5c

Comments Pippa Mickleburgh, Avontuur’s GM:  “Five fillies and one colt mostly featuring our own Oratorio and Var with a few exciting sires thrown in, should give us the edge at this local sale.”

Check out their details here:  http://www.avontuurestate.co.za/stud/sales2018/

Three Oratorio’s start off the list with Lot 134, a medium-sized filly called Rockachino out of Mochachino showing off a very good bloodline and a racy build.  Lot 224, a filly out of Varsity Queen called Curious Mind is a robust, easy moving and powerful horse, who is the picture of her sire. The only Oratorio colt on this sale is Duet, Lot 148 out of Oasis Song.  He is a correct, very nice horse and according to Pippa, could be the surprise in the pack!

When we get to the Var’s, we have two fillies on offer. Lot 213 is called In Good Time out of Timetogoby and she is a good mover and a strong, athletic sort.  The second filly is Lot 287, Eurovar.  “She is a speed machine and a very attractive race horse out of Europe to Africa, and should do well,” Pippa says.

The last yearling set for Durbanville is Lot 272, a filly called Hot Money by Master of my Fate –  a hot new sire from a well-related family.

All in all, a group of yearlings to be proud of!  Pippa and the team will arrive at Durbanville on 10 April and look forward to welcoming clients, supporters and fans soon thereafter. Visit our Stud page http://www.avontuurestate.co.za/stud/sales2018/   to find out more about the pedigree of each yearling and have a look at their action shots, kindly taken by Liesl King.