FOREIGN AGENT – A STAR SPRINTER-MILER
Few, if any, racehorses, make better starts to their racing career than did Foreign Agent. He reeled off five wins in his first five racecourse appearances, before training on to become one of the best of his generation. One of the colt’s most dramatic victories came in the 1974 SA Guineas. Four hundred meters from the finish, Frantic Chief stumbled and dislodged his rider, causing both Sledgehammer and Jamaican Rum to fall. Foreign Agent (described by the SA Racehorse as a “compact colt….with a wonderful record in the Cape.”) went on to land the Guineas by nearly a length from Jamaican Music.
His other major victories included the 1974 G2 Germiston November Handicap, where Foreign Agent thrashed a top class field to score by seven lengths. He was also twice runner up in the G1 Queen’s Plate –finishing a length and a half off the mighty Sledgehammer in 1975 and three lengths of the same horse a year later. Among the top horses beaten by the Bob Prestage (father of trainer Bill) trained Foreign Agent during his 10 race winning career were such high class performers as Jamaican Music, Yataghan, and Riboville –all of whom won the G1 Durban July Handicap. Other top performers beaten by Foreign Agent included Sledgehammer, Sentinel, Sword Dancer, Ocean City and Majestic Crown.
The colt, who won or placed in 11 major features, retired to stud with the reputation of being the champion sprinter miler of his generation. At stud, despite not receiving the best of opportunities (his biggest foal crop numbered just 20), Foreign Agent made his mark as the sire of brilliant G1 winning sprinter Wexford Boy. Foreign Agent, inbred to the great sprint influence Gold Bridge, was one of five top flight winners by outstanding sprint sire Mexico II. The latter’s top runners also included the brilliant Boland Stud bred Harry Hotspur, both a top class sprinter and sire. Other notable performers sired by Mexico II included flying filly Marie Galante, and champion 2yos Witchita and Smackeroo (Mexico II also became a top class broodmare sire –and is, among others, responsible for the dam of Boland Stud bred champion Senor Santa).
His dam Long Forgot was a one time winner in her native Ireland. Long Forgot was imported to South Africa by a real Irish horseman called Paddy Duncan. He entrusted her care to Boland Stud’s Dr Frank Freeman whom credits the always smiling Paddy Duncan for much of what he knows about breeding today. Retired to stud in South Africa, the daughter of Gratitude produced 3 winners, of which Foreign Agent was by far and away her best. However, Foreign Agent is by no means the sole good horse to emerge from this family, which is also responsible for former South African Broodmare Of The Year Si Senorita (dam of G1 Cape Guineas winner and KZN sire Act Of War and 3 other stakes horses (all of whom were bred by Alf Duncan – the son of Paddy Duncan).
(Paddy Duncan also played a pivotal role in the production of one of Boland’s greatest horses. Frank recalls a story about how he came to get hold of Confident, “It was Paddy Duncan who found Confident (granddam of (champion sprinter) Senor Santa). She was catalogued as pregnant, but Paddy noticed she happened to be winking. He promptly found a colt and paraded Confident in front of him –only for Confident to show and prove without a doubt that she was in season and not in foal. He made sure to tell would-be buyers of the fact and was thus able to acquire this important mare for a song!”
Confident formed a real dynasty –with her descendants not only including the above mentioned Senor Santa but ill-fated Cape Guineas winner Flight Alert and fellow graded winners London Guest, Magic Model and Wheredowego.