Champion South African sire Fort Wood has died at Mauritzfontein Stud in Kimberley.
Mauritzfontein manager Guy Murdoch reported the 25 year-old stallion had always been a healthy, happy horse and it came as a shock when he suffered a heart attack on Saturday morning.
Fort Wood (Sadler´s Wells – Fall Aspen by Pretense) retired to the Oppenheimer family’s stud in 1994 and was quick to make an impression with 11 stakes horses in his first crop. He went on to sire Horse of the Year winners Horse Chestnut, Dynasty and Celtic Grove among 76 individual stakes – 15 of them at Group 1 level.
Fort Wood (USA) was one of four Group 1 winners produced by the great broodmare Fall Aspen and she also foaled the dam of Dubai Millennium. Trained by Andre Fabre for Sheikh Mohammed, he lived up to that pedigree winning the G1 Grand Prix de Paris before fracturing a sesamoid that curtailed his career as an autumn three year-old.
His daughters have proved exceptional broodmares producing Group 1 winners Cherry On the Top, Capetown Noir, Contador, Forest Indigo, Mokaro, Thunder Dance plus 2010 Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf winner Pluck who stands at Vinery in the Hunter Valley.
Fort Wood’s commercial appeal remained strong up until the end as evidenced by his colt from Linsumi (Linney Head) that sold to for R1 million at the just-concluded Cape Yearling Sale.