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Monks Hood, South Africa’s newest poster boy

Posted 4 March 2018 at 09:22

GAUTENG GUINEAS (GRADE 2) - R1,000,000 - 1600m - Turffontein

1st R625,000, 2nd R200,000, 3rd R100,000 - March 3


Monks Hood (pictured) proved his victory in the Gr.2 Dingaans was no fluke when he returned from his Summerveld base and promptly destroyed a classy field to remain undefeated at the Turffontein track.

Trained by Alistair Gordon, the Wilgerbosdrift colour bearer quickened from mid-field, forged into the lead with purpose 400m from home and immediately skipped at least three lengths clear of his rivals. He then turned the classic into a demolition job to cross the line five and a half-lengths clear of dual stakes winner Surcharge (Gimmethegreenlight). Dropped right out from his wide draw, the latter came from way back but finished strongly to head Royal Crusade (Silvano) on the line for second.  Disappointment of the race was undoubtedly unbeaten favourite Majestic Mambo (Mambo In Seattle), who had ripped through his first three starts untroubled. The colt was never sighted and finished over 13 lengths behind the winner.

“Everything just went perfect,” enthused winning jockey Anthony Delpech. “I was going half-pace through the 300m mark and couldn’t believe how well I was going. I thought, should I sit or should I go but decided to get on my bicycle and see if they can catch me. The manner in which he won his last start, that’s when I really though he would be a serious horse today.”

Delpech was referring to the gelding’s prep run on February 11 at Scottsville, where he defeated older rivals over 1400m off a two month break after his Dingaans success.

Effective on both soft and good going, this demolition job should also see the gelding start a warm favourite for next month’s Gr.1 SA Classic, unless his connections decide against him making another trip to Johannesburg.

Now a four-time winner with earnings exceeding R1,13-million, Monks Hood was purchased for R375,000 at the 2016 National Yearling Sale and is one of seven stakes winner sired by Maine Chance stallion Querari.

Monks Hood originates from the Botha family’s Ben-Marné Stud, breeders also of Querari’s Gr.1 winning daughter Querari Falcon. Monks Hood is out of the stakes-placed Camden Park mare Amber Bouquet, who has a yearling full brother to the Dingaans winner.

This is the female line of champion filly Star Effort (Esplendor), a six-time Gr.1 winner of the Daily News 2000, SA Fillies Guineas, Cape Fillies Guineas, Topsport Bloodline Guineas, Allan Robertson Fillies Futurity and the Golden Slipper. - AvdB




1st R312,500, 2nd R100,000, 3rd R50,000 - March 3


This proved an auspicious occasion for young owners Murray Makepeace, Matthew de Kock and Michael Shea (son of ex top jockey Kevin Shea), who tasted classic glory with the Visionaire filly Takingthepeace. One of a quintet of runners representing the powerful stable of Mike de Kock, the rangy bay showed a sparkling turn of foot in the home straight to register a scarcely believable last to first victory.

Stable companion Silver Thursday (Silvano) was committed fully 600m from home and after taking the lead from pacesetter Pale Lilac, she plugged on tenaciously and looked to have the race in the bag inside the final furlong. Takingthepeace, who had cornered at the rear of the field, was switched to the stand side by young Callan Murray and once her Ferrari engine kicked in, she surged past the entire field to outgun Silver Thursday by a neck at the line. Longshot Green Top (Gimmethegreenlight), ran out of her socks to finish third in her first attempt over the trip.

The muddling pace no doubt suited the winner, whose previous three wins had all come over sprint distances. In fact, she never threatened the winner in two placed runs over 1400m, most recently when fourth behind Fish River in the Three Troikas Stakes.

De Kock has now won this classic four times in the past eight years, having taken the contest with Fisani in 2010, Igugu in 2011 and Heaps Of Fun two years ago. Remarkably, all but Igugu were bred at Summerhill Stud, while the Australian-bred champion called the famed KZN farm home after arriving as a yearling from her birth country. Their latest winner also joins Heaps Of Fun as the second winner of this classic sired by former resident stallion Visionaire.

From a female line redolent of speed, she is one of two winners from three runners out of Rambo Dancer’s daughter Lisa Anne, whose string of graded stakes places included a fine third in the Gr.1 Empress Club Stakes. The mare has a yearling colt by Duke Of Marmalade, a weanling colt by Summerhill resident Willow Magic and she is back in foal to him. - AvdB



HAWAII STAKES (GRADE 2) - R400,000 - 1400m - Turffontein

1st R250,000, 2nd R80,000, 3rd R40,000 - March 3


Will Pays overcame a tardy start to notch up the second graded success of his career in the race named to honour the great galloper trained by George Azzie, the grandfather and great-grandfather respectively of the Azzie team of Mike and son Adam Azzie, who put the polish on the latest winner.

The gelding found himself with only Matador Man (Toreador) behind him as favourite Sir David Baird (Dynasty) brought them into the long Turffontein straight. The long-time leader went out the back door approaching the 300m mark, where Full Mast (Go Deputy) seized the initiative. Craig Zackey meanwhile had gone to work on Will Pays, and the pair made rapid progress to join issue approaching the final furlong before drawing clear. Coral Fever (Judpot) finished with a wet sail but despite making up the deficit at a rate of knots, the winner held on by the best part of a length.

This was the tenth career victory for racing’s newest millionaire, who also landed the Gr.3 Spring Spree Stakes to become the first stakes winner for the Azzies when they joined forces at the start of the new season.

Bred by Northfields Stud, Will Pays is by under-rated sire Imperial Stride (Indian Ridge), from the same female line as Count Dubois.

Rattlebag, a triple stakes winner by Jallad, won the Gr.3 Azalea Handicap and was runner-up in three classics, notably the Gr.1 SA Fillies Guineas and Gr.2 Oaks. In addition to Will Pays, she is also the dam of Chastity (Tamburlaine), a stakes-placed juvenile winner in Zimbabwe, while her daughter Rattled (Alami) produced Gr.2 Umkhomazi hero Harry Lime (Var). - AvdB



ACACIA HANDICAP (GRADE 3) - R250,000 - 1600m - Turffontein

1st R156,250, 2nd R50,000, 3rd R25,000 - March 3


Jockey Raymond Danielson has certainly struck up a fine rapport with Al Adiyaat’s Simply Royal, boasting a 100% strike rate on the Tarry runner. The rider extended that winning partnership to four from four when he partnered the filly to a career-best effort here.

Stable companion Redberry Lane (Western Winter) took them along at the a fair clip and still enjoyed a three-length advantage at the top of the straight. Sylvan On Fire (Silvano) was the first to challenge, while Simply Royal also became galvanized up the inside rail. Going through the 200m mark, the trio had the race to themselves and in a driving finish, Simply Royal forged ahead to deny her blinkered stable companion by a half length at the line, while Sylvan On Fire was next best.

Spare a thought for the runner-up, who was recording her fifth successive second place. As for the winner, she has sent her already considerable broodmare value soaring with this fourth win from just seven starts.

In addition to this being a one-two for the trainer, it was also a fine result for Maine Chance champion Silvano, who sired the first and third across the line.

Bred at Ascot Stud, Simply Royal is one of three stakes performers out of the accomplished Al Mufti mare Royal Fantasy. Her first foal, Winter Fantasy (Western Winter) won the Listed East Cape Fillies Nursery, while Royal Crusade, a three-year-old own brother to Simply Royal, finished third in the Gr.2 Gauteng Guineas an hour after his sister’s success. The seven-time winner Royal Master (Jet Master) rounds out her first four foals.

Royal Fantasy is an own sister to champion staying filly and Oaks winner Royal Approval, who sadly died at four. Their dam Davidia, an unraced daughter of Fort Wood and Natalia Stakes winner Avila, likewise proved short-lived; she died, aged nine, after producing just the two full sisters. Fortunately, Royal Fantasy has more than carried on the family tradition and boasts as her next foal a yearling filly by Silvano. - AvdB

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