(Originally from the August 3, 2013 issue of The Blood-Horse)
by Darryl Sherer
Darryl Sherer is the former editor of Pacemaker and co-founder of the ANZ Bloodstock News.
Sprint stallions tend to dominate in South Africa, so when German-bred Silvano began shuttling in 2003 to the Jacobs family-owned Maine Chance Farm in the Western Cape, he became something of a revelation.
His first South African crop contained Kings Gambit, winner as a 3-year-old in 2007-08 of the South African Classic (SAf-I) over 1,800 meters at Turffontein and the Edblo South African Derby (SAf-I) over 2,450 meters at the same track; and Happy Spirit, winner of the Audi Centre East Rand South African Oaks (SAf-I) over 2,450 meters on the same program that Kings Gambit won his Derby.
The son of Lomitas—Spirit of Eagles, by Beau's Eagle, more recently had a big weekend July 6 when his son Heavy Metal (out of Percussion, by Baroon) won South Africa’s iconic Vodacom Durban July (SAf-I) over 2,200 meters while another offspring, the filly Do You Remember (Festive Occasion, by Casey Tibbs) finished third. Later that same Saturday, Silvano was represented by the Sparda 144 Deutsches Derby (Ger-I) winner Lucky Speed (out of Lysuna, by Monsun) to make it an even bigger pay day for the 17-year-old stallion.
Bred and raced by the Jacobs family’s Gestut Fahrhof, Silvano won as a 2-year-old and then performed at group I level at 3, 4, 5, and 6. Not only was he tough but he traveled well, too, racing in six different countries and winning at the graded/group level in North America, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
His best wins came in 2001 when he took the Arlington Million (gr. IT) at 11 furlongs, where he defeated Hap on yielding turf; the Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup (HK-I) over 2,000 meters defeating Jim and Tonic; and the Singapore Airlines International Cup (Sin-I) over 2,000 meters at Kranji in Singapore defeating Caitano and Aristotle. Silvano racked up plenty of frequent flyer points in 2001, traveling to Dubai where he finished third behind Stay Gold and Fantastic Light in the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority & Dubai Ports Authority Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-I) as well as to Australia where he finished fourth in the Carlton Draught Cox Plate (Aus-I) over 2,000 meters.
Inbred to Almahmoud through Northern Dancer and Maribeau, Silvano retired to Gestut Fahrhof in Germany, and he made a promising start, ending the season as the leading first-season sire in Germany. This might not be as impressive as it sounds with Germany’s racing weighted in favor of older horses over middle-distances, but Silvano’s first crop included the high-class colt Proudinsky (Proudeyes, by Dashing Blade), who was listed-placed as a 3-year-old in Germany before traveling to North America where he progressed to winning two runnings of the San Gabriel Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Park.
A good filly emerged from Silvano’s second crop in the shape of Mi Emma (Mi Anna, by Lake Coniston), winner of the Akdov Stutenpreis German One Thousand Guineas (Ger-II) and the Darley Oettingen-Rennen (Ger-II), beating the multiple group I winner Soldier Hollow. Silvano’s stud career thus began to get some traction. By the time Mi Emma was making her presence known in group company, Silvano was no longer being shuttled and had become a year-round resident of South Africa at Maine Chance Farm.
In keeping with his male-line, what is setting Silvano apart is his ability to produce high-class horses at middle distances and beyond. Silvano’s offspring have won a total of 81 stakes races to date with 58 of them at distances of 1,600 meters and beyond, the greatest number (17) between 1,800 and 2,000 meters with five victories at 2,400 meters and beyond. Twenty-three of the stakes wins are from 1,000 to 1,600 meters.
He is showing a bias toward his male offspring with 33 stakes winners from 261 runners (12.6%) compared to 19 stakes winners from 275 female runners (6.9%).
As a great grandson of Nijinsky II (Northern Dancer—Flaming Page, by Bull Page), Silvano is now also perpetuating the famous cross combining Nijinsky II and Blushing Groom (Red God—Runaway Bride, by Wild Risk). The Epsom Derby/Irish Derby winner Kahyasi (Ile de Bourbon—Kadissya, by Blushing Groom) is a successful stallion example of this, and the Durban July winner Heavy Metal is one of six stakes winners from 63 foals for Silvano out of mares carrying Blushing Groom.
The J&B Metropolitan (SAf-I) winner Martial Eagle is one of two out of mares by Jallad, a son of Blushing Groom who is becoming a common denominator in Silvano’s extension. Rainbow Questis the sire of Baroon while the First National Building Society Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) winner Spectrum is the broodmare sire of this season’s Betting World Gauteng Guineas (SAf -II) winner Tellina—also inbred to Nijinsky as is Daily News Greyville 2000 (SAf-I) winner Vercingtorix.
An outbreak of African Horse Sickness means Silvano remains for now a resident of South Africa and unable to return to Germany. That would certainly appear to be South Africa’s gain and Europe’s loss.