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Monday, 19 November, 2018

Star South African mare Smart Call retired and in line for classy cover

Daughter of Ideal World was a Group 3 winner at Newcastle in June

Smart Call (right) wins the Group 3 Hoppings Stakes at Newcastle
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South African-bred international campaigner Smart Call, honoured as champion middle-distance horse of her native land after trouncing males including multiple Horse of the Year Legal Eagle in the 2016 J & B Met, has been retired and will be bred this autumn to Juddmonte’s champion Kingman.

The now seven-year-old daughter of Ideal World is currently at The National Stud in Newmarket after having run her last race when fourth against males in the Group 2 York Stakes last month.

In her penutimate start, she had fulfilled a goal for owner and breeder Jessica Slack by capturing the Group 3 Hoppings Fillies’ Stakes at Newcastle.

“We decided a while ago that we wanted to retire her to stud this year and breed her on southern time, so [trainer] Sir Michael Stoute had planned her campaign this year to fit in with that,” Slack said.

“It’s so lovely that she could retire having won her race and been in such good form.

“She has been such a star and we are so proud of her,” Slack added.

Smart Call gained a respected international profile by winning the J & B Met three weeks after taking the Group 1 Paddock Stakes, which offered her an entry to the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita Park.

While training in Britain for the Breeders’ Cup, she incurred a setback that sidelined her for several months with lameness problems.

After resuming racing in May 2017 with a third in the Group 2 Middleton Stakes at York - in which, ironically, she finished in front of Filly & Mare Turf winner Queen’s Trust - Smart Call went on to compete in the Hong Kong Vase, finishing seventh of 12 in the field of top international males including winner Highland Reel and runner-up Talismanic.

She raced four times this season and, prior to her York Stakes triumph, she had finished third again in the Middleton Stakes.

Overall, she concludes her career with eight wins and eight placings in 26 starts.

“She has been very lucky to have had two such great trainers,” Slack said, referring to Stoute and her South African conditioner Alec Laird, who sent her out for a trio of Group 1 victories including the Woolavington 2,000 Stakes during her three-year-old season.

After her Paddock and J & B Met triumphs, Smart Call endured the long three-month process of being in quarantine and visiting Mauritius before travelling to Britain on an international Group 1 quest that ultimately would be foiled.

However, when able to compete after the lameness issue, she continued to display her mettle against top rivals from Britain to Hong Kong.

“It's such a privilege for us to be able to send her to a stallion like Kingman, and we are so excited to be able to add her to our broodmare band,” Slack said.

In addition to being bred this year, Smart Call will likely remain in Britain to produce her foal and be bred again next year before beginning a return trip to South Africa.

“She flew over to the UK with another mare of ours called Banbury,” Slack said. “Banbury went straight to stud and is expecting her second foal in the next month or so. The plan would be for the two of them to buddy up again and then hopefully fly home together when they are ready. Banbury has done so well at the National Stud and so we're so happy to be able to keep them both there together.”

Also a seven-year-old bred by Slack’s Mauritzfontein Stud in South Africa, Group 3 winner Banbury is a daughter of South African Triple Crown winner Horse Chestnut out of South African Oaks winner Lady Helen, by Stage Colony.

Banbury produced a filly by Sir Prancealot in 2017 for Mauritzfontein and the Wilgerbosdrift stud of Slack’s mother, Mary; that filly has been named Adderbury Lake.

Smart Call, who was produced by the Horse Chestnut mare Good Judgement, helped establish her sire, Ideal World, at Mauritzfontein, once the home of South African supersire Fort Wood, whose many top offspring included Horse Chestnut.

Ideal World, a Juddmonte-bred son of Kingmambo and champion Banks Hill, was a multiple French stakes winner and is a half-brother to Group 1 winner Romantica. He has gone on to rank among South Africa’s leading sires.

His pedigree needs little introduction. Banks Hill is a sister to top international sire Dansili as well as to Cacique and Champs Elysees and to champion mare Intercontinental.

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She has been very lucky to have had two such great trainers
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