Var – Page 3

First Frankel foal born in SA to Val de Ra

Avontuur Estate is happy to announce the delivery this morning of a healthy, strong filly by one of the world’s top-ranked race horses and super star sire Frankel, out of Avontuur owned mare and SA champion sprint filly, Val de Ra.

Val de Ra (Var x Minelli) had a blazing career in South Africa and was crowned the Equus Champion Sprinter for the 2010-11 season with her greatest moment arguably when she beat What A Winter in the 2012 Cape Flying Championship.

With her maternal instincts proven without any doubt after giving birth in the UK in 2013 to a strong filly by another of the world’s top sires, Oasis Dream, and after being covered by Frankel she took on the long trip home to SA with her first foal at foot earlier this year.

Settled in comfortably at the Drakenstein Quarantine Facility where she has to stay for another month till all the necessary tests have been done, the birth went well and GM Ross Fuller says the new-born is strong, flashy and well-balanced and both mom and baby are doing well.

Avontuur GM Pippa Mickleburgh explained that words can’t describe the excitement at Avontuur this morning! “She was only due on the 26th but the little one clearly couldn’t wait. We are so grateful to the team at Drakenstein for looking after her so well and she has once again impressed everyone with her presence of mind, endurance – or good old “vasbyt” as it’s known in Afrikaans – and is looking well and happy! This is a historic moment for SA thoroughbred breeding and as it might be our one and only chance for a SA born Frankel foal, the moment is just huge for the team at Avontuur,” she commented.

Val De Ra won 11 of her 13 starts, including four Group Ones: the 2011 Computaform Sprint, the SA Fillies (twice in consecutive years 2010 and 2011) and the Cape Flying Championships. In total she earned approximately R1 848140.

Her first foal is now a yearling and based at Avontuur Estate in the Helderberg between Stellenbosch and Somerset West where she is being prepared for the Cape Premier Yearling Sale in January.

“I can’t wait to get Val de Ra back to her real home at Avontuur,” Pippa says. “She will have a wonderful few months relaxing with her new foal and will eventually visit Oratorio, one of the resident stallions at the Estate and himself one of the world’s greats!

Frankel in the winners enclosure after his last win.

Frankel in the winners enclosure after his last win.

Impressive win for Var colt

by Sarah Whitelaw (Gavelhouse)

Avontuur’s outstanding stallion Var is never short of having an exciting prospect to his bow – and he appears to have a really nice colt in the shape of Generalissimo.

Bred by the Hyjo Stud, Generalissimo took his record to two wins from just three outings when accounting for another talented Var colt, Varbration, in a graduation plate at Scottsville on Sunday.

A really good looking colt, Generalissimo is trained by Dennis Drier, who described the colt as something really special in a post race interview.

He is now likely to go down for the Cape Summer Season where Generalissimo will be aimed at some of the Cape features.Generalissimo, a R350 000 buy at the 2013 Suncoast KZN Yearling Sale, is one of a number of promising 3yos representing Var this season.

Other well regarded sophomores for Var in 2014-2015 include Gr2 Umkhomazi Stakes hero Harry Lime and the unbeaten filly Varachino.

Sire of the Equus Champions Variety Club, Val De Ra and Via Africa, Var has a 2014 stud fee of R150 000 and will once again cover an outstanding book of mares this season.

Celebrating Var!

After a wonderful two weeks, firstly at the Cape Breeders Awards and then the Equus Awards, where our champion stallion Var once again showed why his progeny make us happy on race tracks around the world, we booked this advert in Sporting Post.  We think it says it all!

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Equus Awards a triumph for Var

We had a wonderful time last night cheering for Var and his progeny from the Cape and were jumping for joy when Via Africa deservedly won The Sprinter of the Year award and shortly thereafter Variety Club was given the Special Achievement Award! Congratulations to all the connections and everyone who had a hand in ensuring their success.


It is a wonderful ending to a successful year for Var and with his schedule fully booked for the breeding season and stable mate and proven sire Oratorio in the same happy situation, we at Avontuur Estate and Thoroughbred Farm have lots to celebrate!




Var flies the Avontuur flag at CPA Awards

Var made us all proud last night when two of his speedy progeny scooped three of the awards between them at the glamorous event in Cape Town.


Variety Club was crowned International Horse of the Year, a well-deserved honour for this son of Var who just doesn’t seem to stop thrilling us and the crowds, whenever he performs.


Via Afrika walked off with two awards namely the Champion Older Female and Champion Sprinter Award, both of which are just the cherry on top for this  incredible athlete who has had a great year!

Via Afrika wins the Gr 1 SA Fillies Sprint in 2014

Via Afrika wins the Gr 1 SA Fillies Sprint in 2014


We are grateful  to all the supporters of our super sire, and with his book full for the year already, we look forward to many more exciting times on the tracks with his progeny flying our flag.

Oratorio’s 1st foal kicks off the season

We were absolutely thrilled with the birth of the first ever Oratorio foal on South African soil recently.


She is a strong Bay filly out of retired race mare Mochachino and if she is a hint of what is to come, we can look forward to many more gorgeous – and fast – offspring from this internationally proven sire, now resident at Avontuur Estate.


With foaling season fully upon us, we will be loading new pictures of the newbies nearly daily, so watch our website under Bloodstock and then Foals 2014 to keep an eye on our progress.

Oratorio's first foal, a filly out of Mochachino, August 2014

Oratorio’s first foal, a filly out of Mochachino, August 2014

Var tops the sires charts

The champagne corks were popping at Avontuur this weekend with news reaching the beautiful farm just outside Somerset West that their stalwart stallion Var was leading the SA sires log on combined local and international earnings.

The son of Forest Wildcat has continued to produce the stakes winners on an ongoing basis from 1000m to 2000m this past season and an enthusiastic Avontuur General Manager Pippa Mickleburgh said she was pleased as punch.

The brilliant dual SA Horse Of The Year Variety Club ended the invincible local dominance of the Gr1 Champions Mile in Hong Kong three months ago when winning by four lengths and becoming the first overseas winner of the prestigious race.

And Variety Club is not finished yet! He is currently being rested at Mike De Kock’s base at Newmarket and will probably be aimed at the Prix de la Foret at Longchamp and then an assault on the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

An excited Pippa said that the season had been a success on all fronts.

“Where do we start! Obviously Variety Club’s terrific international successes will be what is remembered by most people for what he did in his herculean efforts in carrying the flag for South African horseracing. But then we also have that super Gr1 double by Via Afrika and Normanz on the Golden Horse sprint day at Scottsville. Then also consider the amazing amount of stakes and feature winners he had especially amongst his fillies.Which in the long run, with so many fillies earning black type and retiring to stud, can only help his future as a broodmare sire. It is exciting looking into the future and knowing that he has had such an extraordinary influence on the breed,” she said.

Pippa said that Var was fully booked this year and for 2015.

“He has enjoyed such great support from around the country and has a core of really loyal supporters,” she said.

The legend of Var has its roots in his arrival at Avontuur in 2005 and he has consistently produced tough and quality racehorses. He was represented by his 27th stakes winner on Saturday, when the brilliantly fast Schiffer won the Listed Umngeni Handicap. She is one of 12 stakes winners for Var during 2013-2014.

His top performers this season include record breaking Gr1 Champions Mile winner, and leading Breeders Cup contender, Variety Club, as well as the local Gr1 winners Via Africa and Normanz.

Var, the sire of 16 Grade One horses and counting, is strongly represented at the 2014 Emperors Palace National 2YO Sale. His five lots on offer include a filly out of a daughter of Gr1 winner Saintly Lady (Lot 42) and a three-parts sister to top sprinters August Rush and Miss October, as well as this season’s stakes winning filly She’s A Pippa (Lot 429)

With the arrival of the magnificent Oratorio, who stands at 16.00 hh, from Coolmore in Australia, will Var be taking a backseat?

“Oh hell no! He is still the King of Avontuur and he easily has another five more great years. He is in fine fettle and believe me he is very well looked after. Oratorio, who incidentally produced his first foal just the other day, provides a whole new dimension. He is a proven sire of international stakes winners all over the globe. He is going to provide us with our Met and July winners in the years ahead!” said Pippa confidently.


Story courtesy of Sporting Post

27 Stakes winners for VAR to date!

by Sarah Whitelaw

Avontuur Thoroughbred Farm’s leading resident stallion Var was represented by his 27th stakes winner on Saturday.

Var’s brilliant daughter Schiffer won the first stakes race of her career when the 4yo filly won Saturday’s Listed Umgeni Handicap on Gold Cup day at Greyville with another Var filly, Varikate, finishing fourth.

A top-class sort, Schiffer, who is trained by Dennis Drier, took her tally to five wins and two placings, from just nine starts, with a comprehensive 2 length win in the Umgeni Handicap, over 1000m.

Schiffer, bred by Avontuur, showed plenty of ability early on her career – and inflicted a rare defeat on the Var sired champion Via Africa when beating that top filly first time out.

Third in the Gr1 Golden Slipper at just the second time of asking, Schiffer’s career has been interrupted by injury, but the 4yo has never lost any of her ability – as Saturday’s win in the R150 000 contest proved.

She is one of 12 stakes winners to represent sprint king Var during 2013-2014. Var’s other stars this season include record breaking Gr1 Champions Mile winner, and leading Breeders Cup contender, Variety Club, as well as the local Gr1 winners Via Africa and Normanz.

At the time of writing, Var’s runners in 2013-2014 have amassed over R11 million in prize money.

Var, the sire of 16 Grade One horses and counting, is strongly represented at the 2014 Emperors Palace National 2YO Sale.

His five lots on offer include a filly out of a daughter of Gr1 winner Saintly Lady (Lot 42) and a three-parts sister to top sprinters August Rush and Miss October, as well as this season’s stakes winning filly She’s A Pippa (Lot 429).

SA Champ Val de Ra back home!

Avontuur Estate and Thoroughbred Farm is proud, relieved and very happy to announce that champion race mare Val de Ra is safely back on South African soil with her sprightly 8-month old Oasis Dream filly!

After a long and tiring 6-days long trip via Amsterdam from the UK, the duo was happy to reach firm ground and a warm stable last night.  This morning Val de Ra had a relaxing stroll around the paddocks, checking out the new environment.

Val de Ra in her stable in SA.

Val de Ra in her stable in SA.

With a month in quarantine still to come for the foal, we are so looking forward to welcoming her to Avontuur itself soon.  Val de Ra will go straight to the Drakenstein Stud pregnant mare quarantine facility until she foals down safely, so we expect her home at the end of October.

She is in foal to Frankel at the moment and thereafter the plan is for her to visit Oratorio.

Varikate keeps Var’s flag flying

A  courageous race led to a win on Friday for Varikate in the Gr 2 Post Merchants over 1200 m at Greyville.  It was a tremendous effort by the Var filly, and she showed lots of  heart when she refused to throw in the towel against strong opposition.


Congratulations to trainer Justin Snaith and everyone who made this achievement possible.

VAR  in the paddocks

VAR in the paddocks