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Horse Chestnut returning to South Africa

HORSE CHESTNUT, the 1998-1999 Horse of the Year and champion three-year-old colt in South Africa, is leaving Claiborne Farm in Kentucky to continue his stud career in the land of his birth. The 14-year-old son of Fort Wood will stand at Johan and Gaynor Rupert's Drakenstein Stud in the Cape, in a deal brokered by bloodstock agent Robin Bruss.

Horse Chestnut is due to leave the US on March 21, according to Ross Fuller, stud manager of Drakenstein. "The likelihood is that his fee will be set at R10,000 (£716/€773) and R40,000 (£2,864/€3,092) live foal so that he will be within reach of most breeders," he told

He added: "There may be some shares made available. He will, however, cover a limited book each year."

The sire of eight crops - including 12 two-year-olds and 26 yearlings - Horse Chestnut has produced four Group or Graded stakes winners, including Lucifer's Stone, winner of the Grade 1 Garden City Breeders' Cup Stakes on turf. 

He has spent his entire stud career at Claiborne, where his 2009 fee was $5,000, but is the sire of a promising South African juvenile, the unbeaten filly Cashew Nut, trained by Gavin Van Zyl.

Campaigned by his breeders, Harry and Bridget Oppenheimer, Horse Chestnut won nine of ten races, from sprints up to middle distances, for trainer Mike de Kock. His Group 1 wins included the Cape Argus Guineas, the South African Derby, the Gosforth Park Classic and the J & B Met Handicap, which he won by eight lengths as the first three-year-old to land the prestigious event in 54 years.

" I feel honoured to be part of the history of the great Horse Chestnut and can’t help but feel like this is like the return of the prodigal son," said Bruss.





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