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Turffontein round-up

Posted 8 May 2018 at 09:13

PREMIER’S CHAMPIONS CHALLENGE (GRADE 1) - R4,000,000 - 2000m - Turffontein

1st R2,400,000, 2nd R740,000, 3rd R380,000 - May 5


On a day of mixed fortunes, Coral Fever gained a deserved big pot when he fought off a game challenge from former Triple Crown winner Abashiri (Go Deputy), the pair finishing almost four lengths clear of third-placed Silvan Star (Silvano).

S’Manga Khumalo took over from regular pilot Anton Marcus aboard favourite Legal Eagle (Greys Inn), after Marcus was dislodged from Gr.2 Daisy Guineas favourite White River (Trippi) at Greyville on Friday night, injuring a wrist.

Khumalo set a cracking early gallop chased by Nother Russia (Tiger Ridge), and it proved too much for both as Legal Eagle faded in the straight and the mare just stayed on for fourth.

Abashiri, winless since his bruising victory in the SA Derby two season’s back, briefly looked set for victory, but could not contain the determined finish of Coral Fever.

Since being refitted with blinkers in his last three starts, Coral Fever has lifted his game to a new level. The winner’s first Gr.1 success and sixth overall, came on the back of a facile score in the Gr.2 Colorado King Stakes and prior to that, he had finished second in the Hawaii Stakes. Also successful in the Gr.3 Jubilee Handicap at four, Coral Fever’s string of placed efforts at Graded level this season includes a third in the Gr.1 Sansui Summer Cup.

“The blinkers have made a big difference,” confided winning rider Muzi Yeni. “We got a good pace and we went past them easily.”

His victory also completed a red-letter day for trainer Robbie Sage and co-owner Colin Bird, as they had teamed up earlier to land the Gr.2 SA Nursery with William The Silent (Var).

The rich win stake more than trebled Coral Fever’s career earnings to R3,442,025, a far cry from the R130,000 Bird paid for him at the National Yearling Sale.

He is the fourth Gr.1 winner sired by Varsfontein stallion Judpot and was bred at the Parkers’ Ascot Stud from the Rich Man’s Gold mare Coral Tree, who has a yearling filly by Jackson.

The mare is a dual winning half-sister to Gr.1 SA Derby hero and sire Ravishing (Jet Master), Gr.2 Betting World 1900 winner Dynastic Power (Dynasty) and the multiple Graded Stakes winner Red Badge (Badger Land), who twice ran third in the Gr.1 Durban July. Third dam Run For Lily (Jamaico) won the Gr.1 Garden Province Stakes and in addition to producing Gr.2 winner and sire Royal Messenger (Royal Prerogative), she is also the grandam of Gr.1 winning sprinter Vega (Jallad). - AvdB



SA DERBY (GRADE 1) - R2,000,000 - 2450m - Turffontein

1st R1,250,000, 2nd R400,000, 3rd R200,000 - May 5


Rank outsider Hero’s Honour caused an upset of epic proportions when he outstayed his rivals in a slow-run race to register the biggest payday of his career.

The gelding was ridden to victory by former champion jockey Mark Khan who took Hero’s Honour to the front early in the straight and kept finding. Favourite Surcharge (Gimmethegreenlight) came from a long way back and although closing quickly, left his challenge too late and had to settle for second, just as he had to in the first two legs of the Triple Crown.

Retired through injury and a comeback hampered by a fall that resulted in a further six-month lay-off, Khan made a winning return to the saddle for his staunch backer Gary Alexander, the duo having previously won this Classic in 2002 with Timber Trader.

Hero’s Honour is the first and only stakes winner sired by Giant’s Causeway stallion Await The Dawn. Bred by Juddmonte from the family of Rainbow Quest, Warning and English Derby winner Commander In Chief, the Gr.1-placed multiple stakes winner died in 2015 after just two seasons at Summerhill Stud, breeders of Hero’s Honour.

The Derby winner’s dam Grail Maiden, an Australian-bred import by Galileo, won four times and ran third in the Listed Winter Oaks. She is out of Elaine (Common Grounds) an unraced half-sister to Gr.2 Derby Trial winner Fracas (In The Wings) and to the Stakes-placed trio Tregaron (Lyphard), Ezy Koter (Lomond) and Woodwin (Woodman). Third dam Klarifi (Habitat) won the Ballycorus Stakes and counts amongst her siblings Gr.2-placed Lingfield Oaks Trial victress Bahamian (Mill Reef), who produced Juddmonte’s Irish Oaks winner Wemyss Bight (Dancing Brave). - AvdB



COMPUTAFORM SPRINT (GRADE 1) - R1,000,000 - 1000m - Turffontein

1st R625,000, 2nd R200,000, 3rd R100,000 - May 5


Cape visitor Attenborough put the pride of the locals to the sword with a smashing victory, his first at the elite level.

Confidently ridden by Richard Fourie, Joey Ramsden's blinkered four-year-old stalked the early pace and when popped the question, came storming up the outside to win by a length from three-year-olds Pinnacle Peak (Querari) and Speedpoint (Var).

The gelding also came in from the cold and snapped a nine-race losing streak, having last visited the number one box just over a year ago when landing the Listed In Full Flight Stakes at Scottsville. As a juvenile, he captured the Listed Somerset 1200 and also finished second in the Gr.3 Cape of Good Hope Nursery.

Attenborough is the 21st Gr.1 winner sired by Lammerskraal’s late champion Western Winter and was bred by part-owner Pippa Mickleburgh, who was on course to witness this career-best victory.

A R2 million yearling, the bay is the first foal of In Camera (Caesour), a half-sister to Give Me Five (Goldkeeper), winner of the Gr.1 Allan Robertson Fillies Championship and dam of Gr.3 Sycamore Sprint victress Myfunnyvalentine (Captain Al), who had earlier run second in the Gr.2 Camellia Stakes.

Grandam Dance Celebre (Jallad) won three times and is a half-sister to champion juvenile Consensual (Camden Park), the dam of last season’s Gr.1 Cape Fillies Guineas victress Just Sensual (Dynasty). - AvdB



WILGERBOSDRIFT SA OAKS (GRADE 2) - R1,000,000 - 2450m - Turffontein

1st R625,000, 2nd R200,000, 3rd R100,000 - May 5


Takingthepeace (Visionaire) had a date with history as she was seeking to become the latest Triple Tiara winner. It was not to be, her gallantry falling three places short, with Secret Potion spoiling her party.

Chariot Of Gold (Silvano) set out to make every post a winning one and still held a commanding three-length lead turning for home. She maintained her advantage well into the straight, but had no answer when Secret Potion made a smart forward move up the centre. Takingthepeace was also unleashing her familiar charge up the stand side, but Geoff Woodruff’s filly was not for the catching and she powered home to win by just over a length from KZN raider Flichity By Far (Go Deputy). Chariot Of Gold stayed on gamely for third, while the favourite ran fourth.

It was a case of sweet revenge for the winner, who had finished just over a length adrift of Takingthepeace when third in the Gr.1 SA Fillies Classic.

Ironically, Secret Potion succeeded where paternal half-sister Siren’s Call had failed some years ago. She was denied the Triple Tiara when beaten a head in the Oaks following victories in both the Gr.1 SA Fillies Classic and Gr.2 Gauteng Guineas.

Bred by Dr Ian Heyns, Secret Potion is the latest stakes winner for Fort Wood’s champion son Elusive Fort and is out of Lemon Drop Kid (Parade Leader), an unplaced half-sister to the Gr.3 performed Casey Tibbs siblings Heat Of The Night, Naughty Prince and Cigar Boy. The former won the Langerman, Naughty Prince landed the Winter Classic and Cigar Boy ran third in the Winter Derby. Grandam Naughty Princess (Devilish Ninja) was a Gr.3 winning juvenile and Gr.2-placed at three. - AvdB



SA NURSERY (GRADE 2) - R1,000,000 - 1160m - Turffontein

1st R625,000, 2nd R200,000, 3rd R100,000 - May 5


William The Silent made it a day to remember for trainer Robbie Sage and owner Colin Bird when he fought off a game challenge from the fancied Tarry runner Cirillo (Pomodoro).

The pair staged an epic duel for the entire length of the stretch and at the line, the 45-1 outsider gamely prevailed by a short-head under Cape-based jockey Aldo Domeyer. The runner-up’s stable companion Chimichuri  Run (Trippi) appeared to run in snatches but finished strongly for third. Favourite Bold Eagle (Bold Silvano), previously successful in the Storm Bird Stakes and Gr.3 Protea Stakes, came under pressure a long way out and surrendered his unbeaten record when a head back in fourth.

A winner on debut but well beaten by Bold Eagle at his subsequent start, William The Silent was a doubtful starter before the event. “He was shin-sore after that last run,” said Sage. “So, it was touch and go, but he trotted out sound so we decided to take our chances.”

A R600,000 graduate of last year’s National Yearling Sale, the colt is one of 40 stakes winners sired by perennially leading sprint sire Var, of which seven have won at the highest level.

Bred at Drakenstein Stud, the colt is the second foal of homebred Tick Tock (Captain Al), who finished second in the Gr.1 Cape Fillies Guineas. An own sister to Listed stakes winner Red Disa, she is out of Zeigler (Elliodor), a half-sister to dual stakes winner State Coach (Jet Master). This is the immediate family of Gr.1 winning fillies State Treasure, Little Miss Magic and Bilateral, as well as Gr.2 KZN Derby hero Silvano’s Jet and Gr.1-placed stakes winner Blaze Of Fire. - AvdB



SA FILLIES NURSERY (GRADE 2) - R400,000 - 1160m - Turffontein

1st R250,000, 2nd R80,000, 3rd R40,000 - May 5


Rank outsider Ronnie’s Candy caused the first of a number of upsets when she dented some substantial reputations with a scintillating last to first victory in the Fillies Nursery.

Dismissed at long odds, the St John Gray owned, bred and raced maiden was stone last early on as Mazari (Bold Silvano) led the pack up the straight. Switched to the inside by jockey Raymond Danielson, she smoothly made up the deficit to strike the front a furlong out and stretched away from her rivals for a facile maiden win. Highly-touted debut winner Ghaalla (Var) got going too late and finished two and a half lengths back in second, while the Captain Al half-sisters Captain’s Princess and Celtic Sea were next best. The latter had started an even money favourite following her win in the Gr.3 Pretty Polly Stakes.

Ronnie’s Candy improved on her two previous starts, the most recent of which when beaten just over two lengths by Captain’s Princess.

Her victory brought back memories of the 2012 Fillies Nursery, when Kimberley-trained outsider King’s Temptress caused the biggest upset of the day. She too, came storming from off the pace to open her career on a high and like Ronnie’s Candy, is a daughter of deceased King Of Kings, the widely-travelled English 2000 Guineas hero who died in 2015.

Gray bred his latest stakes winner from the Jet Master mare Bennie Andthe Jets, a three-time winner who finished second in the Gr.3 Jacaranda Handicap. The next dam, New Zealand-bred Franki Fourfingers (Volksraad), is an own sister to stakes-placed Australian galloper Desert Light and a half-sister to the dual New Zealand stakes winner Light Opera (Straussbrook), who reached the frame in both the Great Northern Guineas and Wanganui Guineas. - AvdB



GERALD ROSENBERG STAKES (GRADE 2) - R400,000 - Turffontein, 2000m

1st R250,000, 2nd R80,000, 3rd R40,000 - May 5


Sabina’s Dynasty put her shorthead loss in the Listed Jacaranda Handicap firmly behind her with a first stakes success.

The four-year-old would have been an unlucky loser, as she battled for running room in the straight. However, Pierre Strydom finally managed to guide her through a gap between Bi Pot (Judpot) and pacesetter Girl On The Run (Silvano) and the race was on. Bi Pot grimly struck to her task, but Sabina’s Dynasty carried too many guns and she asserted her authority in the closing stages by a half length. Girl On The Run was next best.

This first stakes success boosted her already considerable value as a broodmare prospect. Bred by Michael de Broglio, she is by sire standout Dynasty out of De Broglio’s fine racemare Sabina Park (Sportsworld), who won him both the Gr.2 SA Fillies Nursery and SA Oaks. She went on to become a Gr.1 producer, her second foal Master Sabina (Jet Master) accounting for two renewals of the Gr.1 Sansui Summer Cup.

Sabina Park’s Fort Wood half-sister Pimento is the dam of the Gr.3 winning sprint filly Green Pepper (Gimmethegreenlight). - AvdB



CAMELLIA STAKES (GRADE 2) - R400,000 - 1160m - Turffontein

1st R250,000, 2nd R80,000, 3rd R40,000 - May 5


Exactly 364 days after her victory in the Gr.2 SA Fillies Nursery, Sean Tarry-trained Green Plains returned to Turffontein and dusted her field late in a powerful victory.

As the field split into two, Green Plains found herself pacing it out on the stand side with old adversary Winter’s Forge (Western Winter) who had chased her home in the Fillies Nursery.

She delivered the knockout punch approaching the final furlong, quickened in a matter of strides and went on to saunter home by 4.5 lengths from Sycamore Sprint victress Myfunnyvalentine (Captain Al), who just shaded Winter’s Forge for second.

This was win number four for Green Plains, who has found life a bit tougher since her sparkling juvenile campaign, which also yielded a victory in the Gr.3 Pretty Polly Stakes and a second in the Gr.1 Allan Robertson.

Rested after four winless Cape Town starts over the summer, she showed a semblance of that juvenile form in her return to action when third in the Gr.3 Man O’War Stakes behind Pinnacle Peak, who franked that form with a fine second in the Gr.1 Computaform Sprint.

Owner Chris van Niekerk had parted with R350,000 to acquire the filly from Gary Player Stud at the Cape Premier Yearling Sale. She is the first foal of Jet Master mare Savannah Leigh, a half-sister to hard-knocking stakes winner Juan Pablo (Winter Romance) and to Super Elle (Model Man), the dam of multiple Gr.2/3 placed Saratoga Dancer (Mambo In Seattle). Grandam La Deportista (Sportsworld) landed the Gr.2 J B McIntosh Fillies Classic as a juvenile and went on to run third in the Gr.1 SA Fillies Guineas. - AvdB



GOLD BOWL (GRADE 3) - R500,000 - 3200m - Turffontein

1st R312,500, 2nd R100,000, 3rd R55,000 - May 5


Dynasty gelding Let It Rain, making his debut for the Ashley Fortune stable, led every step of the way in this marathon event to become the first winner for his newly licensed trainer, and at stakes level no less.

The five-year-old took control of the race and opened up by at least ten lengths in the back stretch. Turning for home, he showed no signs of stopping and while Caradoc Gold Cup winner Just Cruised In (Just As Well) cut back the deficit to a length at the line, Aldo Domeyer had timed it to perfection. Caradoc runner-up Kitty’s Destiny (Argonaut) finished a further half-length back in third.

This extraordinary victory was reminiscent of the stunning performance by Run Rhino Run in a 3000m marathon at Greyville back in October. He opened up by at least 30 lengths and galloped on relentlessly in the straight to score by a staggering 21 lengths.

Ashley Fortune is the third trainer of the Gold Bowl winner, who races for Hassen Adams and the Chinsammys.

Formerly trained by Weiho Marwing, Let It Rain won the Listed Java Handicap in November, having run third in both the Gr.3 Track and Ball Derby and the Gr.3 eLan Gold Cup. Transferred to the Western Cape, he made a winning debut for the Katz stable in the Gr.2 Cape Stayers on Met day.

Now a seven-time winner, the gelding has recouped R1,230,388 of his R1,3 million price tag as a yearling. Bred at Highlands, he completed a fine stakes treble on the day for his sire Dynasty, his victory following on that of Sabina’s Dynasty in the Gerald Rosenberg, while Roman Discent claimed the Castle Tankard across the border at Borrowdale Park.

Remarkably, Let It Rain is an out and out stayer, while his champion half-brother Soft Falling Rain (National Assembly) excelled at a mile and Black Minnaloushe half-brother Splendid Garden is a pure sprinter .

Their dam Gardener’s Delight (Giant’s Causeway) hails from the female family of 1995 Kentucky Oaks queen Gal In A Ruckus, multiple Gr.1 victress Habibti (dam of 2010 Breeders' Cup Marathon hero Eldaafer) and New Zealand 2000 Guineas winner Clean Sweep. - AvdB
(Pictures: J C Photos)

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