New Sires in South Africa for 2012 – Pathfork

Pathfork (USA), 2008, by Distorted Humor - Visions of Clarity (Sadler's Wells). He will stand at Highlands Stud, South Africa for 2012, alongside Antonius Pius (USA), Dynasty (SAF), and Windrush (USA).
Pathfork (USA), 2008, by Distorted Humor – Visions of Clarity (Sadler’s Wells). He will stand at Highlands Stud, South Africa for 2012, alongside Antonius Pius (USA), Dynasty (SAF), and Windrush (USA).

This attractive son of Distorted Humor was purchased at the 2009 Keeneland September Yearling sale for $230,000 by the American-based Irish agent Ben McElroy (of McElroy Equine) on behalf of the Hamilton’s Silverton Hill LLC. Trained in Ireland by Jessica Harrington and unbeaten in his three starts as a juvenile, Pathfork was the Irish Champion 2yr old of 2010 with a Timeform rating of 120.

 On his debut run in a 7f Maiden at the Curragh, Pathfork beat the heavily-fancied Aidan O’Brien runner Robin Hood (Galileo) by 4 lengths. He returned to the Curragh on his next trip, this time in the G2 Futurity Stakes, 7f. Pathfork won by a comfortable one and a half lengths from Jim Bolger’s classy and multiple G1-placed, Glor Na Mara (Leroidesanimaux).
Pathfork crowned off his juvenile season winning the G1 National Stakes, 7f, at the Curragh, beating the Mick Halford trained Casamento (Shamardal), by a head. Group 1 winning juvenile Zoffany (Dansili) was a further 5 lengths back in third place.  Casamento subsequently won the G1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster that season, beating subsequent G1 winners Master of Hounds (Kingmambo) and Zaidan (Street Cry).
At 3yrs, Pathfork went straight to the G1 2,000 Guineas without a prep run. He was well-beaten (7/13) in a race won by the champion Frankel. Dubawi Gold (Dubawi) and Native Khan (Azamour), two horses that finished behind Casamento the previous season in the G1 Racing Post Trophy, filled the 2nd and 3rd spots respectively. Casamento finished further back in 10th place.
Following this defeat, Pathfork was side-lined, before joining the Californian stables of John Sadler in January 2012. Pathfork made two starts for Sadler, firstly in the G2 Arcadia Stakes, 8f (turf) at Santa Anita were he finished a disappointing  6th of 7 runners. However subsequent to another defeat a few weeks later Pathfork was found to have an injury to his left knee and the decision was made to retire him. Sadler said “it was a tremendous shame, because this horse had the ability to match his great looks, and he had a tremendous mind”.
Pathfork has a terrific stallion’s pedigree. His sire Distorted Humor (Forty Niner – Danzig’s Beauty, by Danzig) was Champion Sire in the USA in 2011. A G2 winner and placed at G1 level, Distorted Humor commenced stud duties in the USA in 1999, and also shuttled to Australia in 1999 and 2000. To-date, he is the sire of 642 individual winners (77.3% winners/runners), 105 Stakes winner (12.6% SWs/runners), including 11 individual G1 winners.
It is particulary encouraging for South African breeders to note that Distorted Humor was just as successful with his Southern Hemisphere crops as he has been with his American-bred ones. He has had 85 winners from 105 starters, and 8 SWs from his brief shuttle career, including the SAJC Australasian G1 Oaks winner Rinky Dink. Distorted Humor’s other G1 winners are Funny Cide, Commentator, Drosselmeyer, Hystericalady, Any Given Saturday, Flower Alley, Awesome Humor, Bit of Whimsy, and Forty Niners Son.
Pathfork’s dam Visions of Clarity (Sadler’s Wells – Imperfect Circle, by Riverman) is a Stakes winner that hails from a Niarchos-bred family long associated with producing stallions (Pathfork’s 5th dam is the blue-hen mare Best In Show). Visions of Clarity is a three-quarter sister to Spinning World (Nureyev), who was the Top Rated 3yr Old Miler in Ireland in 1996, Champion Older Miler in Europe in 1997, and is an accomplished sire with 532 winners to-date (65.7% winners/starters), 43 Stakes winners (5.3% SWs/runners) including 8 individual G1 winners. It is also worth noting that from his 6 South African runners, Spinning World has had 5 winners, including a Graded Stakes winner. I have previously written about Spinning World’s record at stud, click here to read that article.
Pathfork hails from a line that has also produced such top-class sires as Redoute’s Choice, El Gran Senor, Nijinsky II, Northern Guest, Try My Best, Far North, The Minstrel, Last Tycoon, Malinowski, Umatilla, Masterclass, Xaar, Taufan, etc.
Pathfork’s 2nd and 3rd dams are also Stakes winners, and like Visions of Clarity, thay have been top producers. His 2nd dam Imperfect Circle (Riverman), a Listed winner and G1-placed is closely related to the G1 winner Sagara. Pathfork’s 3rd dam is the G1 winner Aviance (Northfields), who in turn produced the G1 winners Chimes of Freedom and Denon. Aviance is the grandam of G1 winners Aldebaran, Good Journey and Saddex.
Distorted Humor (USA), 1993, by Forty Niner - Danzig's Beauty (Danzig). A Champion Sire, he stands at Winstar Farm, Kentucky, at a fee of $100,000.
Distorted Humor (USA), 1993, by Forty Niner – Danzig’s Beauty (Danzig). A Champion Sire, he stands at Winstar Farm, Kentucky, at a fee of $100,000.
Pathfork looks to be an outstanding stallion prospect and a great addition to the stallion ranks of South Africa. Rhona
Beck of Highlands Stud Farm said:I am delighted Highlands has acquired Pathfork. He brings the best of American pedigrees, strengthened through Sadler’s Wells’ influence in Europe and one of the best sire producing lines available, to mares in South Africa. I’m confident his tremendous talent and excellent conformation will be the perfect complement to mares owned by South African breeders”, (The Sporting Post, 28 April 2012).