SP Sprint - 10 April 2024

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10 APRIL 2024 | 3 STAKES UPPED ON CHAMPIONS SEASON – READ MORE ON PAGE 22 12 New Predator Progeny 1-2 Cracking finish to SA Derby 28 The Thunder Rumbles Son of Rafeef is too good! 36 Rafeef – One Of SA’s Most Exciting Sires Speed to Classics – he ‘s unstoppable 54 Winx – Still Breaking Record How a Pierro filly got the world talking 78 War Front – The Hits Keep Coming How a Pierro filly got the world talking CONTENTS Issue: 15/2024 On the cover JP van der Merwe returns to the winner’s enclosure after Gimme A Nother slammed her field to win the Gr1 Empress Club Stakes at Turffontein on Saturday and make it a straight 7 on the trot! Candiese Lenferna took the photograph.



Premier Performance! Royal Victory (Muzi Yeni) gets the better of Winchester Mansion (Kabelo Matsunyane) and Aragosta (Marco van Rensburg) | Credit: Candiese Lenferna

Despite finding himself in a bit of trouble off a slow pace, Muzi Yeni got the Nathan Kotzen champion Royal Victory to raise the bar and produce a sustained finish to emulate Puerto Manzano and pull off the Betway Gr1 Summer Cup – World Pool Gr1 Premier’s Champions Challenge double at Turffontein on Saturday.

Royal Victor was the only raider in the 2000m Champions Day headliner and took his stakes earned to R150 000 short of R5 million, for owners Peter Victor, Brandon Wiese & Natasha Sturdy and was another feather-in-the-cap for Summerveld trainer, Nathan Kotzen.

Putting aside concerns that the Pathfork 4yo had not had more than a solitary run at home in KZN in between his Highveld raid to win the Summer Cup back in November, and Saturday’s big one, Yeni rode the gelding with confidence and had him amongst the backmarkers, as Street Art and Litigation carted them along.

Into the run for home, Royal Victory looked flat-footed as Litigation, Dave The King and Winchester Mansion started firing the burners.

But despite being a margin out of his ground, Royal Victory (4-1) quickened like the good horse that he is and powered home to beat the 2023 Hollywoodbets Durban July hero Winchester Mansion (6-1) by a half-length in a time of 127,68 secs.

Mike de Kock’s pair of Aragosta (40-1) and Dave The King (9-2) completed the quartet.

Bred by Ambiance Stud, Royal Victory is by Ridgemont’s Distorted Humor stallion Pathfork out of the four-time winning Kahal mare, Kailani.

A dream R90 000 buy off the National Yearling Sale, Royal Victory has now won 5 races with 7 places from 17 starts, for stakes of R4 845 250.

On a day where results eventually got into line after a shaky start, and ran to the form book, the Pick 6 paid just over R2400.

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The Gr1 Guys! Peter Victor and SA Derby winning owner Stincky Pooe celebrate their respective elite successes Credit: Candiese Lenferna
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4Racing CEO Fundi Sithebe and winning trainer Nathan Kotzen | Credit: Candiese Lenferna Smooch for Muzi! Belinda Victor shows her delight with Muzi Yeni’s great ride | Credit: Candiese Lenferna


Just a month after celebrating their maiden Grade 1 success together, trainer Robyn Klaasen and owner Stincky Pooe raised a toast to jockey Kabelo Matsunyane who produced the ride of his life to keep the favourite Purple Pitcher rolling down the long Turffontein straight to score a heartstopping victory in the R1 250 000 TAB Gr1 SA Derby.

Klaasen is only in her second full season for her own account and has done a remarkable job with the R170 000 purchase, who has won two Gr1’s in his seven victories from his last eight starts, since shedding his maiden tag seven months ago.

“I always thought he’d stay, despite all the doubters,” said the happy trainer, who added that she’d never seen a bond between horse and jockey on the level of Purple Pitcher and Kabelo Matsunyane, before.

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Matsunyane, who wasn’t scared to keep his mount within striking distance of the leader Mondial all the way around, added that he always felt that the further he goes, the better he would be.

“You can see the heart and courage. He loves a fight. I think after this performance, that 2200m is his best trip,” he added.

Smartly attired in a dashing red suit, owner Stincky Pooe was on course with a large entourage of family and friends.

“We have a champion. If there are still people who doubt that, then I don’t know,” he laughed,

indicating that the Hollywoodbets Durban July was the goal for his talented colt.

In one of the most thrilling finishes to the classic in years, it came down to two sons of illfated stallion New Predator to slug it out.

At the line, the roar went up for Matsunyane who had kept Purple Pitcher (2-1) at it to beat a determined Richard Fourie on Pure Predator by a quarter length in a time of 160,38 secs.

The pacesetting Mondial (8-1) found a second wind under Muzi Yeni to rally right back and grab third a neck away.

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Two sons of the late New Predator go head-to-head as Purple Pitcher (Kabelo Matsunyane) gets the better of Pure Predator (Richard Fourie) in the TAB SA Derby| Credit: Candiese Lenferna

The very best performed son of the little exposed New Predator (New Approach), the winner was bred by Bush Hill Stud and is out of the one-time winning Count Dubois mare, Heliantha.

A winner of 7 races, including two legs of the SA Triple Crown, and with 3 places from

12 starts, Purple Pitcher took his stakes earnings to R2 536 250.

He was purchased for R170 000 off the BSA National 2yo Sale last year.

What a dream horse to own!

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Power Pair! Jockey Kabelo Matsunyane hugs trainer Robyn Klaasen after their second joint Gr1 success Credit: Candiese Lenferna


A decision to sidestep a possible SA Triple Tiara crown and rather take on mixed age opposition in the R1 million TAB Gr1 Empress Club Stakes, paid dividends for Mike de Kock and the connections when the massively talented 3yo Gimme A Nother kept her perfect record intact and made it 7 from 7, and a second Gr1 victory.

Watching from Australia, it was De Kock’s ninth victory in the prestigious feature in the last eighteen renewals, and probably his most promising of an impressive honour roll!

The winner of the first two legs of the SA Triple Tiara, Gimme A Nother’s supporters’ nerves would have been shot when she was pulled out of the stalls just prior to the jump to be checked by the Vet.

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JP van der Merwe makes it seven straight victories on the glorious Gimme A Nother | Credit: Candiese Lenferna

“She is pretty straightforward, but her temperament is becoming a bit of a problem, even with the pony. She picked up a small cut under eye, but the Vet was happy. I went positive from her draw and with the sticky going I didn’t want to be too far back. She went through her gears and won well,” said JP van der Merwe, who is the only jockey to ride the beautiful daughter of Gimmethegreenlight.

Only six opponents turned up to take on the star 3yo, who started at prohibitive odds on a day where little went according to script.

But JP van der Merwe tracked his tough-asteak stablemate Humdinger all the way around, and then unleased the jet to see Gimme A Nother make it a perfect 7 in a time of 100,43 secs.

Humdinger (25-2) stayed on with courage in second, with Mrs Geriatrix (5-1) putting in a solid performance in third.

As reported multiple times previously, Gimme A Nother is a fairytale on her own as a thirdgeneration stakes winner trained by Mike de Kock.

Bred by Wilgerbosdrift & Mauritzfontein, she is by champion sire Gimmethegreenlight (More Than Ready) out of the Tiger Ride champion, Nother Russia,

Mary Slack purchased Gimme A Nother’s grandam Mother Russia from Klawervlei Stud as a dual Gr1 winner of the Fancourt Majorca and Empress Club Stakes.

Mother Russia duly rewarded her new owner with victory in the Gr1 Paddock Stakes and in what was arguably the highlight of her starstudded career, the coveted Gr1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, a memorable occasion given that she thwarted the mighty Pocket Power’s bid of a fifth consecutive victory in the celebrated mile race.

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There were high hopes for the champion daughter of Windrush when she retired to her owner’s Wilgerbosdrift paddocks as a four-time Gr1 winner. However, racing and breeding is fraught with incredible highs and the heartbreak that is the flip side, hence it was not just a cruel blow when Mother Russia died at age ten, her innings as a broodmare yielded just a single foal by Tiger Ridge.

Fortunately, that foal, a filly named Nother Russia, is keeping the dream alive.

Like her mom before her, she joined the De Kock stable but raced in the colours of Jessica Jell , who had purchased the chestnut from the Wilgerbosdrift draft for R550 000 at the National Yearling Sale.

She ended up a dual Gr1 winning eight-time winner.

With two Gr1 trophies in her perfect 7 from 7, Gimme A Nother has earned R2 525 000. And the world is her oyster, right now!

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The ‘Gimme Team’ at the lead in on Champions Day Credit: Candiese Lenferna


The countdown to the South African Champions Season has begun and Hollywoodbets has this week confirmed a stakes injection of an incredible R10,6 million over the duration of Champions Season.

One of the world’s premier horseracing festivals, showcasing an impressive array of 38 graded stakes races, 13 of which are at the elite Gr1 level, the three-month extravaganza kicks off on Saturday, 04 May at the Theatre of Champions, Hollywoodbets Greyville Racecourse in Durban.

The annual spectacle of horseracing excellence is steeped in tradition, and reaches a heady climax with the running of Africa’s greatest horseracing event, the R5-million Gr1 Hollywoodbets Durban July, on Saturday 6 July.

The action-packed season will once again grab the attention of racing fans from around the world, as the very best of South Africa’s thoroughbreds go head to head for championship honours.

Hollywoodbets Brand and Communications Manager, Devin Heffer said that the raising of the ‘stakes’ would herald a fitting finale to a South African racing season that has already been characterised by some scintillating performances in the Cape and on the Highveld.

“We are proud to play a role in once again encouraging the participation of raiders from around the country to set up their stables on the East Coast for the big season. Minor races have also received a boost, making KZN the place to race. We look forward to enjoying the best of the best battle it out over the next 4 months, and given the timing, the SA Champions Season is effectively the gamechanger as we look forward to the stars being honoured at the Equus Awards at the start of the new term,” added Heffer.

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Hollywoodbets Durban July action – the season pinnacle is on 6 July | Credit: Chase Liebenberg

Gold Circle Marketing Executive Stephen Marshall echoed the Hollywoodbets viewpoint, and notably added that the stakes injection marks KZN racing’s highest ever feature race stakes for Champions Season, a benchmark that was previously set in 2019, in the pre-Covid days.

“We thank Hollywoodbets for their unwavering support of the sport of horseracing in South Africa, and particularly here in KwaZulu-Natal, where they have once again assisted us to maintain the prestige associated with the pinnacle season of South African horseracing,” said Marshall.

The SA Champions Season action kicks off with the running of the Gr2 WSB Guineas and Gr2 WSB Fillies Guineas, followed by the traditional season opener, the Gr2 Independent on Saturday Drill Hall Stakes, which is sponsored by Independent Newspapers.

With a feature race total stake of nearly R35-million, South Africa’s Champions Season

is set to attract the crème de la crème, all vying for prestigious titles and prizes, including the coveted R5-million Hollywoodbets Durban July.

Renowned for a diverse programme catering to all age groups and thoroughbred categories, Champions Season offers the ultimate test for juveniles, 3-year-olds and older horses, across a variety of bumper race days.

The Golden Horse Sprint meeting at Hollywoodbets Scottsville on Saturday 01 June stands out with its four R1-million Gr1 sprint events, showcasing thrilling contests over 1 200m.

While top-class events unfold each weekend, Champions Season reserves five major race dates for the most exhilarating showdowns in the country.

They range from the lightning-fast sprints, to the premier middle-distance clashes, such as the R2-million Gr1 Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge over 1600m, and the sophomore

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Flashback! Vercingetorix’ son Ambiorix wins the 2021 Gr1 Gold Medallion | Credit: Candiese Lenferna

showdown of the R2-million Gr1 Daily News 2000 and the R1,5-million Gr1 Tabgold Woolavington 2000.

These races have consistently produced champions, and each year feature as stepping stones for some of the major Hollywoodbets Durban July contenders.

The season reaches a pinnacle on 06 July with the world-renowned Hollywoodbets Durban July Day, drawing massive crowds for a spectacular showcase of horseracing excellence, against the background of the 2024 fashion theme, ‘Ride The Wave’.

Alongside the main event, the R1,5-million Gr1 Ridgemont Garden Province Stakes and other thrilling races highlight the day’s festivities.

Following the climax of Hollywoodbets Durban July day, racegoers have three weeks to catch their breath before the season’s grand finale at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Sunday 28 July.

Super Sunday hosts South Africa’s premier marathon event, the R1-million World Pool Gold Cup, alongside the R1,5-million HKJC Champions Cup and three other potential championship game changing Gr1 races, and captivating juvenile contests.

Champions Season 2024 promises an unforgettable experience for racing enthusiasts, blending tradition, excitement, and top-tier competition that will once again reaffirm KwaZulu-Natal’s status as the unrivalled racing capital of South Africa.

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What a day to look forward to at the Theatre Of Champions! | Credit: Candiese Lenferna Candiese Lenferna caught this Gold Cup action in 2023





SA OAKS (Gr 2) 2 450m

the third leg of the Wilgerbosdrift Triple Tiara.

Owner: Messrs D Chinsammy, GS Knowles, HP Sambor, Mrs Vanashree & Mr Anant Singh, Team Valor International (Nom: Mr B Irwin)

Trainer: Brett Crawford

Jockey: Kabelo Matsunyane

Breeder: Wilgerbosdrift & Mauritzfontein

TAB supports responsible gambling. Gambling for persons 18 years and older. Winners know when to STOP. National Responsible Gambling Toll-Free counselling line 0800 006 008. Alcohol not for sale to persons under the age of 18. Drink Responsibly.


A remarkable feat of training and jockeyship delivered the goods in the R1 million Jonsson Workwear Gr1 Computaform Sprint at Turffontein on Saturday when the Avontuur-bred Thunderstruck registered his second elite success and endorsed his steely ability and the scintillating versatility of his top sire, Rafeef.

Rafeef, a champion son of Redoute’s Choice, won the Computaform Sprint in 2017, and also sired the 2022 winner Master Archie, who now stands at Winterbach Stud.

It was Sean Tarry’s fourth Computaform Sprint success after Carry On Alice (2016), Mythical Flight (2007) and National Colour (2006), and Richard Fourie’s third after the recently exported Isivunguvungu won last year, and

another Avontuur product Attenborough raised the rafters in 2018.

“He could make a stallion one day,” remarked delighted owner Mary Slack as she complimented trainer Sean Tarry on the feat of getting the Gr2 Diadem Stakes back into the winner’s frame, less than 6 weeks after a courageous win at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth.

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Richard Fourie gets Thunderstruck up to beat the gallant filly Golden Sickle (Calvin Habib) Credit: Candiese Lenferna

After the fillies Iphiko and Golden Sickle had gone hammer and tongs out front, Thunderstruck encountered a bump or two before ghosting up and finding his best stride under the professional guidance of Richard Fourie.

In a drive to the wire, Thunderstruck (18-10) upped his game to beat the gallant filly Golden Sickle (7-2) by 0,30 lengths in a time of 57,46 secs.

The runner-up’s stablemate Rulership (8-1) ran the race of his life in third.

Winning owner Mary Slack labelled Suzette and Basie Viljoen ‘the best sports in the game’,

after they were the first to congratulate her. The Viljoens own the runner-up, Golden Sickle.

A BSA Online Auction recordbreaker at R1 241 000 as part of the Javett Dispersal, the Avontuur-bred Thunderstruck was originally acquired for R1 million BSA National Yearling Sale in 2021 by Form Bloodstock.

Thunderstruck has now won 7 races with 7 places from 17 starts for stakes of R2 466 938.

A son of Ridgemont’s former freshman champion Rafeef (Redoute’s Choice) the winner is out of Avontuur’s late super sire VAR (Forest Wildcat) five-time winning daughter Varikate, a winner of the Gr2 Post Merchants.

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Computaform Sprint winners! Pippa Mickleburgh, Mary Slack and Richard Fourie Credit: Candiese Lenferna

Frances Ethel (Kabelo Matsunyane) went on smartly to beat My Soul Mate


Following the exports news wave of positivity washing over SA horseracing, it didn’t take the astute Barry Irwin long to find another decent one.

The Team Valor International boss will have been thrilled with a courageous performance from the progressive Frances Ethel to win the R750 000 Wilgerbosdrift Bridget Oppenheimer Gr2 SA Oaks at Turffontein on Saturday.

Just a week after Facteur Cheval won the $5 million Gr1 Dubai Turf at Meydan in the TVI silks for French trainer Jerome Reynier, the Brett Crawford-trained Listed Oaks Trial winner Frances Ethel stepped up for her biggest test –

and emerged with flying colours under Kabelo Matsunyane.

While Mike de Kock champion Gimme A Nother sidestepped the third leg of the SA Triple Tiara to pursue a Gr1 credit in the TAB Empress Club Stakes, Frances Ethel’s victory was loaded with merit as she hit the front at the 300m with the fancied Silver Sanctuary and My Soul Mate chasing hard, and then comprehensively outstayed her opposition.

Despite the looming presence in her wake, Frances Ethel (6-1) never looked like getting beaten and went on smartly to beat My Soul Mate (16-1) by 1,75 lengths in a time of 160,82 secs.

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under Piere Strydom | Credit: JC Photos

The favourite Silver Sanctuary (6-10) made up many lengths but had to be content with third, a further 1,50 lengths back.

Originally sold on the 2022 KZN Yearling Sale for R160 000, Frances Ethel went through the Cape Racing Ready To Run & Unbroken 2yo Sale ring for R220 000.

She was bred by Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein and is a daughter of Ridgemont kingpin Rafeef (Redoute’s Choice) out of the unraced Fort Wood mare, Daphne Garland.

A winner of 4 of her 5 starts with 1 place cheque, Frances Ethel took her stakes earnings to R725 500.

The word from the local owners is that she could go the Hollywoodbets Durban July route. Interesting times!

Read Robin Bruss’ lead story of this past week about our glory years – which includes success for Team Valor International.

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Four Starters, Four SWs, Four Countries

FACTEUR CHEVAL prevails over Japan's NAMUR in a duel to the wire in the $5 Million Dubai Turf Stakes -G1.


G1 Dubai Turf


G2 South African Oaks


G3 Wilshire Stakes-G3


Listed Cork Stakes

Irwin, Founder &
| (859) 347-6275 | Barry@teamvalor.com
Hits for the Cycle This Week



Dual Gr1 star Thunderstruck (Richard Fourie) is led in by Sean Tarry, Avontuur’s Pippa Mickleburgh and owner Mary Slack | Credit: Candiese Lenferna

Rafeef is fast establishing a fine reputation as a stallion who has the ability to sire stakes winners across the speed and stamina spectrum.

The Ridgemont stallion enjoyed a notable weekend of stakes winners at Turffontein on Champions Day this past Saturday, when his three-year-old daughter Frances Ethel took the Wilgerbosdrift Bridget Oppenheimer Gr2 SA Oaks, and Thunderstruck overcame a troubled passage to add the Gr1 Jonsson Workwear Computaform Sprint to his Gr1 Gold Medallion as a juvenile, much to the delight of owner Mary Slack, who let slip in the post-race interview that the five-year-old entire may eventually join the stallion band at her Wilgerbosdrift Stud.

Exciting times for both Rafeef winners, as Frances Ethel raced under the internationally active Team Valor International banner for the first time, and will no doubt be winging her way abroad in time to come.

Incidentally, this is not the first time Rafeef enjoyed a sprint/classic double - that honour belongs to first-crops sons Master Archie and Aragosta, who put their sire in the spotlight at the same Derby meeting two years ago.

On that day, Master Archie outduelled paternal half-brother Cleaver Greene to give his sire a one-two in the Gr3 Man O’War Stakes over 1100m and if that wasn’t enough cause for celebration, Aragosta became Rafeef’s landmark first Gr1 winner when he lifted the subsequent SA Derby over 2450m.

On Saturday, Aragosta found his feet late to run a very creditable third behind Summer Cup champion Royal Victory and Hollywoodbets Durban July hero Winchester Mansion in the World Pool Gr1 Premier’s Champions Challenge.

These achievements speak volumes for the versatility of their sire, considering he was a Gr1 winning sprinter himself, having won the Gr1 Computaform Sprint eleven years after his illustrious dam National Colour had dominated the elite level 1000m dash en route to Joint Horse of the Year honours.

Remarkably, Thunderstruck is Rafeef’s second Computaform Sprint winner, as Master Archie won it in 2022.

The country’s leading freshman sire of 2021, Rafeef has also emerged as a fitting successor to National Colour’s sire National Assembly, who likewise stood at the famed Robertson nursery.

Five times Champion Juvenile Sire, the son of Danzig carved out an enviable record, siring such champions as National Emblem and Soft Falling Rain (both successful sires), National Currency, Historic Lady, Enchantress, Forward Filly and National Bay.

There is no doubt that Rafeef is an exciting stallion for breeders and buyers. After the initial thought from the industry that he would be an out and out sire of sprinters, it is fantastic to see that he is able to sire winners across the board – from sprinters to classic winners!

The credit for Rafeef’s versatility over various distances may well have to go to his sire, Australian stallion extraordinaire Redoute’s Choice, who left seven Oaks winners and five Derby winners, amongst which Weiho Marwing’s SA Derby winner Wylie Hall.

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Frances Ethel scores an emphatic SA Oaks win under Kabelo Matsunyane Credit: Candiese Lenferna

Be that as it may, from a closer look at the pedigrees of Rafeef’s best runners, one could argue that he may well ‘throw to the dam’, as regards stamina or the lack of it.

Master Archie’s dam, the Bauhinia Handicap winner La Volta, scored all eight wins over the minimum trip, whilst his grandam, the Gr1 winner Sarabande, is by the outstanding sprinter/miler Goldmark.

Thunderstruck likewise is out of a Var mare, the Gr2 Post Merchants winner Varikate. Adding further toe is the presence of that brilliant sprinter Dayjur, whose son Modern Day sired Thunderstruck’s granddam Katie Star.

Rafeef’s Gr2 winning son William Robertson’s best performances include runner-up efforts in the Gr1 Mercury Sprint and Computaform Sprint, and he is out of a mare by Trippi, broodmare sire also of Rafeef’s fleet-footed daughter, the Gr3 Pretty Polly Stakes winner Leaving Las Vegas, whose grandam is by

multiple champion juvenile sire Storm Cat. Rafeef’s ‘miler’ progeny includes Gr2 Dingaans winner Union Square. He has as his dam the Oaks Trial runner-up Square Dance, who in turn is out of Sadler’s Wells’ smart Gr2 Gold Circle Oaks winner and (then) Gr1 SA Oaks runnerup, Front House.

As regards Aragosta and Frances Ethel, the former’s dam Miss Galidora is a daughter of the mighty Galileo, whose record as a classic influence is unparalleled, whilst Oaks winner Frances Ethel has as her broodmare sire another classic stallion in the ubiquitous Fort Wood.

However, there are always exceptions to the rule - Aragosta’s own sister Mrs Browning being a prime example.

A winner of this season’s Gr3 Carry On Alice Stakes over 1100m, she clearly takes after her sire. The same would probably apply to last season’s smart juvenile Outlaw King.

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The magnificent Rafeef – sensational son of Redoute’s Choice | Credit: Supplied

Successful in the Gr2 Umkhomazi Stakes, and runner-up in the Gr1 Gold Medallion, both over 1200m, his dam Way Of Escape, a daughter of Gr1 SA Derby/Durban July winner Greys Inn, won up to 2000m.

While Rafeef stars Thunderstruck and Frances Ethel walked away with the laurels on Champions day, the same day performances of the son of Redoute’s Choice offspring, Beating Wings (a lightly raced Ridgemont bred threetime winner who ran 4th in the Gr2 SA Oaks), the earlier mentioned Aragosta, who ran 3rd in the Gr1 Premier’s Champions Challenge, and the gelding Positive Attitude and the 4yo filly Ipso Facto, who ran runner-up and fifth, respectively, in the 2850m Caradoc Gold Cup, attest to the versatility and extraordinary value of an exceptional sire.

“There is no doubt that Rafeef is an exciting stallion for breeders and buyers. After the initial thought from the industry that he would be an out and out sire of sprinters, it is fantastic to see that he is able to sire winners across the board

– from sprinters to classic winners! His stakes winners-to-runners percentage year on year, over the last three years is outstanding, and he is rightfully challenging at the top.,” added a delighted Craig Carey, after a memorable Champions day.

While looking at the pedigree of this fast ascending influence, it would be remiss not to make mention of the deeds of his dam National Colour, whose influence continues to grow Down Under.

As recently as last week, grandson Celestial Legend notched up a second Gr1 success when he captured the mile Doncaster Handicap at Randwick, where he had won the Gr1 Randwick Guineas in his previous start.

The first foal out of National Colour’s unraced daughter Sarraqa (who is by Redoute’s Choice’s son Snitzel), this was Celestial Legend’s fourth win in eight starts and upped his earnings to A$3.4 million.

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‘It would seem the roller coaster of currency values mirrors the roller coaster of horseracing. You just have to be smart enough or lucky enough to catch the wave at the right time and in the right direction’ – Robin Bruss

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10 APRIL 2024 | 45 SA MARES ON THE WORLD STAGE – MORE GREAT ACHIEVEMENTS Celestial Legend (AUS), grandson of National Colour (SAF), wins the A$4m (R48m) Doncaster S. (Gr.1) 1600m at Royal Randwick in Sydney last Saturday | Credit: Avenue Bloodstock

Last week, we looked at the progeny of South African mares and their comprehensive success in other countries. This week Robin Bruss provides updates, corrects an omission, and provides more food for thought.

The 3 year old Australian colt CELESTIAL LEGEND, who bears the same grey coat as his famous grandam, the 2004 South African Champion Sprinter and Horse of the Year NATIONAL COLOUR (SAF), took a giant step towards becoming best three year old in Australia this year, when he won last Saturdays 162nd running the of the famous Doncaster H. (Gr.1) A$4 million (R48,9 million) over 1600m at Royal Randwick.

This was his second Gr.1 success having also won the $1 million Randwick Guineas (Gr.1) in his previous start, but it was his first attempt in taking on the best older horses – and he won it in spectacular fashion, having to weave his way

through from far back, courageously squeeze through the narrowest of gaps and bursting into the lead almost within the shadow of the post.

“This is some horse” said his 86 year old trainer Les Bridge said. `’ He’s unbelievable. I didn’t think he could win – I thought he wouldn’t get out from the pocket. Horses just don’t do what he did. He’s a terrific, a superstar.”


Celestial Legend was bred by Arrowfield Stud and sold as a yearling for A$220,000. He has so far earned just over A$3,5 million (R42 million).

His main target this year will be Australia’s most important WFA race, the A$5 million WS Cox Plate Gr.1 in October.

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THE SPRINT IS INTERACTIVE - WATCH THE RACE BY CLICKING HERE Celestial Legend as a yearling when he sold in the Arrowfield Stud draft for A$220,000 | Credit: Inglis

His sire, Dundeel (by High Chapparal, by Sadlers Wells) won 10 of his 19 starts, including four Gr.1s, amongst them, the Randwick Guineas Gr.1, AJC Derby Gr.1 and the Queen Elizabeth II S. Gr.1.

His dam Sarraqa was bred by Arrowfield Stud in partnership with Chris Van Niekirk, who raced National Colour, and also co-bred Sarraqa’s Champion brothers RAFEEF and MUSTAQUEEM.

On the same day that Celestial Legend recorded his Gr.1 in Australia, back on this side of the Indian Ocean, another rare distinction unfolded at Champions Day at Turffontein, when RAFEEF sired winners of two championship events in two extremely different aptitudes.

He had THUNDERSTRUCK who won the 1000m the Computaform Sprint championship (Gr.1) by outsprinting the competition and he

also sired the Classic winner FRANCES ETHEL who won the 110th running of the South African Oaks (Gr.2) over 2450m by outstaying the competition.

This is not the first time Rafeef has achieved this rare distinction because in his first crop he sired Master Archie to win the Computaform Sprint (Gr.1) and on the same day, Aragosta to win the SA Derby (Gr.1).

Such versatility at the highest level is rare and indicates a stallion with a bright future, especially as he stood for a fee as low as R20,000 just a couple of seasons ago, and bigger and better books of mares will be lining up.

Across the Atlantic, reports are good on the first yearling crop of MUSTAQUEEM, the only South African horse in Chile. He belongs now to Nelson Sepulveda of South American Bloodstock.

Mustaqueem (Aus) by Redoutes Choice from National Colour (SAF), full brother to Rafeef, when sold for A$1,75 million as a yearling to Sheik Hamdan al Maktoum. Champion 2 Year Old in South Africa, he now stands at stud in Chile, the only South African horse. Credit: supplied

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The ROCK OPERA dynasty unfolds

Like National Colour, the influence of SA bred ROCK OPERA (b.m. 2002 by Lecture USA – Drummer Girl by Al Mufti USA) has also unfolded on four continents and is a great story to tell, omitted from last week’s missive.

Rock Opera was bred by Ashley and Rose Parker at Ascot Stud in Port Elizabeth, home of both the Seeking the Gold stallion Lecture (USA) and of champion sire Al Mufti (USA), son of Roberto.

At the NYS 2003, Rock Opera was spotted by the keen eyes of Corne and Toby Spies and purchased for R80,000 for their lucky patrons, Mr & Mrs Basil Linington.

Rock Opera was brilliantly fast as a 2 year old, winning all of her four starts, culminating in victory in the Allan Robertson Fillies

Championship (Gr.1) and she was crowned Equus Champion 2 Year Old 2004/05.

The Allan Robertson has become such a breed shaping race that signals excellence that at least five of the winners have been exported, four of them to Australia.

The story of Rock Opera then takes a slightly bizarre turn, for I received a call from a Dubai trainer to advise that a certain important Sheik was going to call me in order to make an offer to buy Rock Opera and that this was a serious enquiry. The call came in and this Sheik instructed a R5 million offer, which was 10 times the value of the Allan Robertson purse. I felt it too high and in his best interests as my anticipated new client, I suggested an offer of half that figure. However, he insisted on the R5m offer. “Do as I say, but do not mention my name.” he ordered.

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in action | Credit: Supplied
The top-class Rock Opera

I called the owner Mr Linington and before I could even make the offer he excitedly told me that a certain South African bookmaker had just called 10 minutes earlier to make an offer of R5m for Rock Opera and gave me the name of the buyer - the same Sheik !

I was stunned and called back the Sheik and asked how this bookmaker was involved.

He said “well I know of him, but the offer was unauthorized !”

“But”, I stammered, “ he has your name and the exact figure and the same timing. And as I understand it, the offer has been accepted! ”

And so it came to be that Rock Opera was sold for what seemed a fabulous price at the time and she arrived in Dubai where there were no sprint races on turf for fillies. She raced 6 times in Dubai for a 3rd in the UAE 1000 Guineas at 1600m and 8th of 9 in the Oaks and was retired to stud in England and became the property of Sheik Mohammed’s Darley Stud.

Rock Opera at stud

Breeding being a roller coaster business, her first foal went by the inglorious name of Frankenfurter, and he must have been as slow as a sausage, winning only one race.

But then fortune smiled for Rock Opera. She was covered by Exceed & Excel (champion son of Danehill) and she produced HEAVY METAL (GB), who was to race in the personal silks of Sheik Hamdan bin Mohammed, the son of Sheik Mohammed and now the Crown Prince of Dubai.

HEAVY METAL was a tremendous racehorse who earned a reputation as one of the toughest, soundest and most genuine horses to have raced in England and Dubai.

He raced 9 seasons, from aged 2 to aged 10 years, making 66 starts and winning 15 races and £1,516,989. He won 3 races as a 2 year old in UK inc the Richmond S. (Gr.2) at Goodwood from a 10 start campaign as a 2 year old.

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Heavy Metal (GB), son of Rock Opera (SAF), wins the US$1 million Godolphin Mile at the 2018 Dubai World Cup meet | Credit: Twin Spires

In all he won 7 times in UK including the £150,000 International S. at Ascot, before transferring to Dubai where he was to win another 8 races.

At Meydan he won five major races: the 2018 Godolphin Mile, Gr.2 on World Cup night, the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 S., Gr.2, the Burj Nahaar S., Gr.3, the Firebreak S., Gr.3, and the Dubai Creek Mile, L. and placed in countless others year after year. His best Timeform rating was 123.

Rock Opera’s Gr.1 winning son ROYAL MEETING

From 7 foals born in England, Rock Opera produced 5 winners and they included a colt with greater brilliance than Heavy Metal when she foaled ROYAL MEETING (by Invincible Spirit) in 2016.

Racing in the famous Godolphin Silks, ROYAL MEETING won the 2018 Criterium de St Cloud (Gr.1) over one mile as a 2 year old in Paris, to

become the first Gr.1 winner for a South African mare in France.

Royal Meeting was then sold for $750,000 for stud in Australia, and went to stand at Aquis Victoria and now stands at Leneva Park. His first crop became two year olds in the current season.

Hayasugi (Aus), star granddaughter of Rock Opera

From the first crop of Royal Meeting comes a filly that was to be named HAYASUGI and was acquired by South African born James Bester, who has made his name as one of Australia’s best judges of bloodstock.

James purchased her for a ladies syndicate for a bargain A$47,500.

Hayasugi achieved the rare distinction of picking up all three of the major two year old contests in Melbourne – the Blue Diamond Preview (Gr.3) in January, the Blue Diamond Prelude (Gr.2) in February and then the big one, the Blue Diamond S. (Gr.1) worth $2 million on February 24, 2024 - a filly defeating the colts.

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Royal Meeting, son of Rock Opera (SAF) wins the 2018 Criterium International (Gr.1) at Chantilly | Credit:

Hayasugi was in line for the famous championship 2024 $5 million Golden Slipper (Gr.1), but the roller coaster of bad luck was to strike. She drew 15 gate of 16 runners in a race run around the turn over 1200m. As the gate opened, she jumped slow and unbalanced, and her rider slips from saddled and almost falls off. In trying to regain balance, the filly swerves to the right and runs across the track and hits the running rail and almost goes over. What is over is any chance in the race and she trails in last.

The race unfolds without her and the winner is Lady of Camelot, who had run second to Hayasugi in the Gr.1 Blue Diamond Stakes! Racing’s luck !

Its inescapable to argue that Hayasugi might yet be judged to be the best 2 year old in Australia.

The William Inglis Easter Sales 2024

We finish by drawing some conclusions about the breathtaking Sydney Easter Yearling Sales that concluded earlier this week.

• The Snitzel daughter of champion South African bred 5x Gr.1 winner CARRY ON KATIE (SAF), the only South African dam in the catalogue, was sold for A$ 775,000 (R9,5 million)

• The record breaking Winx filly that sold for A$10 million (R125 million) was by Pierro (Aus), the $4,4m earner and Golden Slipper winner and successful sire. Pierro is by Lonrho out of an Irish bred mare by DAYLAMI who stood at stud in South Africa.

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Royal Meeting (GB) by Invincible Spirit from Rock Opera (SAF), Gr.1W product of two Gr.1 Winners | Credit:

• The Easter sale average of A$429,786 converts to an average price per yearling of R5,2 million, which is 11,7 times the average price of our National Yearling Sales 2023.

• Unless, the quality is 11x that of South Africa, its logically arguable that South African bred yearlings represent the greatest VALUE in global markets and that the current exchange rate of R18,50 to US$1,00 could be our

greatest friend rather than our enemy.

When I started out in the horse business, the Rand was par to the US$. It would seem the roller coaster of currency values mirrors the roller coaster of horseracing. You just have to be smart enough or lucky enough to catch the wave at the right time and in the right direction. The genius move awaits.

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It was a day of staggering drama, global records and the most incredible bidding and theatre ever witnessed in a thoroughbred sales ring as the much-anticipated daughter of Pierro and Winx set a world record price for a yearling filly at Riverside.

Lot 391 – as the Winx filly had become affectionately known in the lead-up to her sale – sold for a staggering A$10m to Woppitt Bloodstock on Day 2 of the Easter Yearling Sale, having been offered in the Coolmore draft.

The Pierro x Winx filly’s price of A$10m eclipsed the previous world record for a yearling filly set in 2013 and decimated the Southern Hemisphere yearling record price of $5m.

The I Am Invincible x Booker filly sold for A$3m, making her the second-most expensive filly ever sold in the Southern Hemisphere behind only the Pierro x Winx filly.

Both the Winx filly and Pierro filly were sold by Coolmore and played a significant role in them being crowned leading vendor, selling 32 lots for a gross of A$27,615,000.

A total of 14 lots realised A$1m or more today, taking the sale’s tally to 18 seven-figure lots.

The sale gross of A$150,855,000 and average of A$429,786 was a 9% and 11% respectively year-on-year increase.

Inglis’ Sale Day Live broadcast saw extraordinary global reach with almost 550,000 views between the Inglis website, Inglis Facebook page and YouTube Channel to almost 100 different countries.

The Pierro x Winx filly was always going to attract significant global interest and it didn’t disappoint, with an incredible bidding duel in a full Riverside auditorium creating the most extraordinary theatre.

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Winx filly sets record price of A$10m | Credit: Inglis

The room fell silent as the filly entered the ring, but it was fireworks for the next three minutes as Woppitt Bloodstock’s Debbie Kepitis and Resolute Racing’s John Stewart traded bids ferociously before Kepitis came out victorious at $10m.

“I didn’t come here to buy this horse originally. We put her up for auction and then in the past few weeks, all of the family, we started to miss our ‘daughter/granddaughter’ so we just decided as best we could, if we could get her, we would,’’ an emotional Kepitis said post-sale.

“I am privileged to have been able to secure this filly on behalf of my family.

“She’s Australian forever and she’s going to be just fabulous. Thank you to everybody around the world who has taken this on board, it’s been thrilling to watch it and we’re lucky enough that we came out winners.’’

Coolmore’s Tom Magnier admitted he’s never witnessed anything like what he did at Riverside today.

“You wouldn’t see this anywhere else in the world,’’ Magnier said.

“You wouldn’t see the build-up, you wouldn’t see the hype and atmosphere today, I’ve never witnessed anything like it at any auction house around the world.

“It’s just the perfect story. I knew she was going to make a very high figure because somebody is buying history. She is a classic, a collectors’ item and there’s only one person who deserved this today and that’s Debbie.

“It’s a dream story. I don’t think you can put a value on a filly like that. It’s just incredible, I’m delighted.’’

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On being leading vendor for the Sale, Coolmore’s John Kennedy added: “It’s a great feeling. It’s an honour to be entrusted with some of the best bloodstock in the world by some of the best clients that are friends of ours.

“It’s a real team effort. We’re all just truly overwhelmed by the whole thing. It’s a fantastic result and something to cherish.’’

Today’s second top lot was an I Am Invincible x Booker filly of Coolmore’s, which sold to Resolute Racing’s John Stewart, who was under-bidder on the Winx filly earlier in the day.

She was one of six lots purchased by Stewart over the past two days.

“What a phenomenon. It’s fantastic that our two continents were connected through this sale in a situation like this,’’ Stewart said.

“I flew out to Australia a few weeks ago to look

at these horses and while I absolutely wanted to buy the Winx filly, I also absolutely wanted to buy this Booker filly, she was my other favourite filly on the farm at Coolmore when I went there so to be able to buy her today at Inglis is fantastic.

“I’m very thankful to have met the Inglis team over the past couple of weeks and it’s been a lot of fun and hopefully I’ve bought some great horses to get our program started in Australia.’’

On the Booker filly, Kennedy added: “She’s always been a special filly, we’ve always held her in very high regard, and we knew coming here she was going to get an awful lot of attention but to reach that height, it wasn’t expected.

“When you bring those quality products to a sale like Easter, the results happen.

“I don’t think anyone’s ever witnessed anything

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like what we saw today, it got world-wide attention, the tweets, the media, the text messages, the WhatsApp groups, the phone calls, it just hasn’t stopped all week. A lot of people got up in the middle of the night to watch the broadcast from around the world, it’s just a fantastic result for everyone involved.’’

Inglis Bloodstock CEO Sebastian Hutch was equally amazed at what he witnessed today.

“It was a real privilege for our company to have the opportunity to offer a horse of her magnitude and for it to play out the way it has and to facilitate this scale of interest that we’ve had has been incredible,’’ Hutch said.

“Today was a day the Australian industry can be proud of. To have every major television network, every major newspaper, so many national radio stations here at Riverside, the images and vision from today that are going around the world paints our industry in a magnificent light and I’m really proud that we have helped play some small role in that.

“This year’s Easter Sale will go down most likely as the second best in history, I mean an average of almost A$430,000 is extraordinary, a gross of over $150m, they’re numbers

we couldn’t have dreamed about but what it means is a lot of breeders and vendors are going home happy and I’m delighted with that.

“It would be remiss of me not to give a special thanks to the ownership group of the Winx filly – the Kepitis, Tighe and Treweeke families – for entrusting Inglis with her sale today and I hope we did them proud.’’

Buyers’ attention now switches to Inglis Digital, with the April (Early) Sale now open for bidding.

A catalogue of 372 entries have been finalised for the sale. To view the catalogue or participate in the auction click here.

2024 Easter Yearling Sale Statistics –(2023 in brackets)

• Lots sold: 351 (352)

• Clearance rate: 79% (83%)

• Average Price: A$429,786 (A$391,108)

• Median Price: A$300,000 (A$280,000)

• Top Price: A$10,000,000 (A$1,800,000)

• Gross: A$150,855,000 (A$137,670,000)

• Media release by Inglis on Monday, 08 April 2024.

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Back to best! It’s another for Gavin Lerena as Sandringham Summit finds his best form | Credit: JC Photos


Varsfontein flagbearer Sandringham Summit reaffirmed his luminary status at Turffontein on Saturday when he became only the second 3yo in over two decades to win the R500 000 TAB Gr2 Hawaii Stakes, in the process giving regular pilot Gavin Lerena a third winner on the big day.

The cucumber cool Hollywoodbets-sponsored Turffontein trainer David Niewenhuizen wrapped up the smashing colt’s SA Champions Season prep in the best possible style, when he brought him back from the 1800m of the SA Classic to win a cracker over the 1400m.

Sandringham Summit righted the ship for favourite backers on a day that started disastrously, as he stormed home down the middle after Unzen had led for a long way and put 1,25 lengths between himself and accomplished contemporary Lucky Lad (11-2) in a time of 85,69 secs.

Mike de Kock’s gutsy Danon Platina White Pearl (5-1) stayed on for third, a further 1,75 lengths back, to make it a top three cleans sweep for the sophomore generation.

The winner was bred by Varsfontein Stud and is out of the Captain Al mare Townsend.

Townsend is a half-sister to Gr1 Champions Challenge winner Regal Ransom and hails from the female line of Gr2 Guineas winner Zapatillas and Gr2 Dingaans second Shoemaker, both of whom were bred at Varsfontein.

Originally purchased for R1,7 million off the National Yearling Sale, Sandringham Summit has been syndicated for stud and has now won 5 of his 10 starts with 5 places and stakes of R2 224 750.

The Champions Day R2 million carryover Pick 6 pool reached R5 959 803 – some way short of the R8 million target.

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The Champion Day feature menu kicked off on something of a sour note for favourite backers as Tony Peter’s unbeaten speedball Almond Sea had to play third fiddle to Cape Racing Sale Slipper winner Little Ballerina and the KZN raider Just Reckless in the R350 000 Wilgerbosdrift Gr2 SA Fillies Nursery.

Despite both the top two boasting good form, Almond Sea started in the red to make it four straight victories.

But it was not to be.

Showing plenty of speed at her first start beyond 1000m, Almond Sea folded inside the 140m marker, and it was left to Candice Dawson’s Cape feature winner Little Ballerina (6-1) to give Gavin Lerena an early double on the big day as she soared to an eye-catching victory by three quarters of a length in a time of 69,09 secs.

Mike Miller’s team will be thrilled with the performance of their Boland Stud-bred Gimmethegreenlight filly Just Reckless, who stayed on to knock out over 180 000 Bipot combinations.

Almond Sea didn’t appear to cope with the extra 160m and also the slightly sticky going and was a half-length back in third.

A R300 000 Cape Premier Yearling Sale buy, Little Ballerina has won 2 races with a place from 4 starts and stakes to R1 095 000.

Raced by Ralphs Racing (Pty) Ltd (Nom: Miss K Ralphs) & Larry Nestadt, the winner was bred by Maine Chance Farms, the Doyle family, and Silver Ripples (Pty) Ltd.

Little Ballerina is by Maine Chance champion Vercingetorix (Silvano) out of the Ireland placed Fastnet Rock mare, Little Fastnet.

She looks a natural for the Allan Robertson Championship down at Hollywoodbets Scottsville in June.

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Gavin Lerena was in fine form on Saturday! Here he has Little Ballerina in charge as Just Reckless (Kabelo Matsunyane) and hot fancy Almond Sea (Calvin Habib), chase hard | Credit: JC Photos
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John Mario (left) and Sibusiso Paca (right) from Crawford Racing with 2023 Hollywoodbets Durban July Champion Winchester Mansion, ridden by Kabelo Matsunyane | Credit: Candiese Lenferna


Just weeks ahead of the start of the 2024 SA Champions Season, which is set to offer all-time record stakes, Gold Circle and Hollywoodbets have announced that their groundbreaking Grooms Initiative incentive has been doubled to R2000 a winner for the duration of the showcase season and will continue into the first month of the new racing term.

The joint initiative, which has seen other regions follow suit countrywide, has paid out over R4,5 million to one of horseracing’s previously unheralded, but most important sectors, since it was launched in September 2019.

Per close of racing at Hollywoodbets Scottsville on Monday, Grooms have been rewarded in 3890 races for their contribution to the horseracing ecosystem in KZN.

Hollywoodbets Brand and Communications Manager Devin Heffer said that the Grooms initiative had proved a real winner for a sector that played an important front-line role in delivering a South African racing show that we can all be proud of.

“We look forward to continuing the momentum into this upcoming Champions Season. The regular R1000 incentive will be doubled to R2000 from 10th April to 31st August 2024. There is also a milestone of a 4000th Grooms Initiative winner on the horizon, and we will award the 4000th winner a R4000 cash

incentive as a gesture of marking a milestone on our broader road to improving the lot of all stakeholders,” added Heffer.

Speaking on behalf of Gold Circle, Events and Marketing Executive Stephen Marshall endorsed the valuable role played by Grooms and said that the increased incentive would be welcomed by all.

“Given the hot off the press stakes increase announcement, which is effective from Sunday 14 April, and with a proud history dating back decades, KZN is the champion destination of choice as we host the very best from all four corners of South Africa. The Grooms play a major part in the success of all racing yards, and it is pleasing to note that our local Grooms and their visiting colleagues will deservedly benefit for their contribution to a sport that provides a livelihood, and so much enjoyment, to a wide spectrum of our population,” concluded Marshall.

• Media release by Gold Circle on Wednesday, 10 April 2024

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Diego De Gouveia shows his delight as Fire Attack storms to an eye-catching win – the favourite Pistol Pete (Calvin Habib) had no answers in third | Credit: Candiese Lenferna


Another Champions Day feature and another beaten red hot favourite! That was the trend at Turffontein on Saturday as, much like his stablemate in the earlier fairer sex feature, the talented Pistol Pete had to settle for third as Alec Laird’s Fire Attack stormed home to beat debut winner Mount Pinatubo in the R500 000 TAB Gr2 SA Nursery.

Veteran trainer Alec Laird, remarkably celebrating a first Nursery victory, labelled the winner a ‘smart little horse’ after the Ndoro Stud bred colt appreciated the extra, and turned the tables on his Listed Storm Bird Stakes conqueror Pistol Pete.

Under a great ride by Diego De Gouveia, Fire Attack (33-1) showed class and ability as he tracked the stampede led by Chocolate Soldier, and then made up ground gradually before charging clear to beat Mount Pinatubo (17-2) by 2,25 lengths in a time of 68,55 secs.

The 1-4 favourite Pistol Pete had every chance but went flat late and was beaten a further

quarter length back in third, in what was another Bipot blow.

A R450 000 National Yearling Sale purchase, the winner has now won 2 of his 5 starts with 2 places for stakes of R437 500.

Fire Attack, is out of the Mambo In Seattle mare Bonnie Beers and is a son of War Front stallion Fire Away. War Front boasts more than 100 stakes winners, including successful sires Declaration Of War and Lancaster Bomber.

Fire Attack’s season target, according to his trainer, is the Gr2 Durban Golden Horseshoe on Hollywoodbets Durban July day.

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Top US sire War Front (Danzig) has certainly made his presence felt in South Africa.

War Front’s ill-fated Gr1 Tattersalls Gold Cup winning son Lancaster Bomber made quite an impression with his first crop to race.

This crop includes dual G1 winner Beach Bomb, Gr1 Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas winner Snow Pilot, Gr2 Western Cape Fillies Championship queen Rascova, and Gr3 Betway National Currency Sprint/Gr3 Betway Sycamore Sprint queen One Fell Swoop, amongst others.

War Front looks to have another successful sire son in the form of Fire Away. The latter made a big impression over the weekend when his son Fire Attack scored a decisive victory in the Gr2 TAB SA Nursery with another Fire Away sired two-year-old, and Listed East Cape Nursery entry, My Best Show breaking his maiden on Friday.

Fire Away, whose second crop are now twoyear-olds, had made a positive impression with his first crop, consisting of 20 winners from 35 runners, headed by Eastern Cape star, and multiple stakes winner Luna Halo, and graded stakes winners Egyptian Mau (Gr3 HSH Princess Charlene Starling Stakes) and My Golly Molly (Gr3 World Sports Betting Langerman).

Another member of this crop, Zil Moris, finished second in the recent Listed East Cape Guineas.

A winner of seven races, Fire Away picked up his biggest win in the Dixie Stakes, with the handsome bay also victorious in the Artie Schiller and Danger’s Hour Stakes.

Fire Away’s dam, Gr2 Demoiselle Stakes runner up Salute, is a daughter of Breeders’ Cup winning champions in the form of Unbridled (Fappiano) and Personal Ensign (Private Account) respectively.

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Fire Attack storms home under Diego de Gouveia | Credit: JC Photos

A hugely influential sire, whose sons include the likes of Unbridled’s Song and Empire Maker (broodmare sire of recent Gr1 Dubai World Cup winner Laurel River among others),

Unbridled also ranks as the broodmare sire of multiple champion sire Tapit (Pulpit) among others.

His maternal grandson Fire Away, whose Gr1 Belmont Derby winning half-brother Mr Speaker (Pulpit) sired the US Gr1 winners Speech and Speaking Scout, has made a big impression with both of his small first crops having produced at least graded stakes winner, and

there looks to be plenty more to come from Fire Away. War Front has enjoyed notable success when mated to Sadler’s Wells line mares and it will be interesting to see if Fire Away emulates his sire in years to come.

Of War Front’s notable progeny, versatile Gr1 Preakness Stakes winner War Of Will was produced by the Sadler’s Wells mare Visions Of Clarity (also dam of successful South African sire Pathfork), while the Gr1 winning siblings Brave Anna and Hit It A Bomb were produced by the Sadler’s Wells daughter Liscanna.

Sadler’s Wells’ outstanding son Galileo is broodmare sire of the War Front sired G1 winners Roly Poly, U S Navy Flag, and Fog Of War.


Maine Chance Farms’ red hot sire Vercingetorix had another outstanding day on Saturday when the champion son of Silvano was responsible for five winners.

Vercingetorix also had a feature race double on Saturday with his daughter Little Ballerina landing the Gr2 Wilgerbosdrift SA Fillies Nursery and son Rascallion victorious in the Gr3 Variety Club Mile on the same day.

In addition, Vercingetorix filly Golden Sickle ran a close second in the Gr1 Jonsson Workwear Computaform Sprint and another Vercingetorix daughter, Equus Champion Mrs Geriatrix, finished a creditable third in the Gr1 TAB Empress Club Stakes.

Classy two-year-old Little Ballerina, victorious in the Cape Racing Sales Cape Slipper, won her first black type in Saturday’s SA Fillies Nursery.

Bred by Maine Chance Farms, P&R Doyle

and Silver Ripples (Pty) Ltd, Little Ballerina has won twice from four starts with the filly having finished third in the G3 City Of Cape Town Cape Of Good Hope Nursery.

Little Ballerina, who is out of the Fastnet Rock mare Little Fastnet, is one of 34 stakes winners for her sire.

Vercingetorix gelding Rascallion, runner up in this year’s Gr1 World Sports Betting Cape Town Met, claimed his fifth career victory when victorious in Saturday’s Gr3 Variety Club Mile.

Bred by Dr Veronique Kritzinger, Rascallion, who is out of the Jet Master mare Sofala, had shown top-class form earlier in his career with the gelding having also prevailed in the 2023 G2 Anthonij Rupert Wyne Premier Trophy.

Vercingetorix is also the sire of Saturday winners, So Seductive, Mauritius Kestrel and Baton Rouge.

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Kaiden Brewer keeps Rule Book at his task to win well | Credit: Candiese Lenferna

Breeding top horses is as much about blood, sweat and tears, as it is good timing, and veteran Eastern Cape breeder Dr Ashley Parker proudly waved a National Yearling Sale flag for his longstanding home of champions, Ascot Stud, with a 1-3 finish in the final feature at Turffontein on Champions Day.

The leading farm’s dual graded stakes winning Galileo sire Global View, sire of the top-class Dave The King, has enjoyed an outstanding run recently, and produced the magic again when the Alec Laird-trained 5yo Rule Book stayed on strongly from a wide gate under Kaidan Brewer to win the R300 000 Listed 4Racing Caradoc Gold Cup at Turffontein on Saturday.

In another booin for Global View, his multimillionaire soldier Dave The King ran another cracker to place in the World Pool Gr1 Premier’s Champions Challenge.

Registering a time of 189,03 secs for the 2850m of the Caradoc Gold Cup, the 7-1 Rule Book beat Rafeef son Positive Attitude (6-1) by 0,20 lengths, with the progressive staying filly United Council (40-1) staying on for third.

Bred by Ascot Stud, the winner was a R190 000 National Yearling Sale purchase of his year and made it 7 wins with 7 places from 22 starts, for stakes in excess of R630 000. He is out of the well related unraced Medicean mare Reputable, a half-sister to US Gr1 winner Jovial (Northern Jove). Reputable also produced a UK 1800m winner by Pivotal.

His sire Global View, South Africa’s Leading First Season Sire of 2019-2020, is also the sire of this season’s smart three-year-old Fairy Knight, winner of his last four on the trot, including the Listed Ibhayi Stakes and East Cape Guineas in his two most recent starts.

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As already noted, Ascot Stud celebrated third place in the Caradoc Gold Cup, when Robbie Sage’s smart 4yo United Council showed her mettle with a good finish to be the first fairer sex galloper home.

The daughter of The United States is raced by Colin Bird and has now won 4 of 13 starts. She is out of the Danehill Dancer mare, Unconditional.

Dr Ashley Parker was particularly pleased as Ascot Stud offers United Council’s good

-looking Global View half-brother Conditionally (lot 3), at the National Yearling Sale to be held at the TBA Sales Complex in Johannesburg on 18 and 19 April.

The versatile Global View has three other lots on offer at the 2024 National Yearling Sale, including an Ascot Stud-bred half-sister (lot 97) to Gr1 Premier’s Champions Challenge winner Coral Fever. The latter was coincidentally also raced by Colin Bird.

The Ascot Stud draft can be viewed in block B.

Kaiden Brewer raises his arms in triumph as Alec Laird and his team celebrate the feature success| Credit:

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Candiese Lenferna


Replacement rider Morne Winnaar guides Rascallion to a deserved win ahead of Port Louis (Gareth Wright, red cap) and Montien (Anthony Andrews) | Credit: Chase Liebenberg

The Cape Winter Series has been a happy hunting ground for owner Marsh Shirtliff, dating right back to the days of Pocket Power.

The veteran continued the tradition at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on Saturday, courtesy of the 6yo soldier Rascallion who scored a deserved victory in the R350 000 Gr3 Variety Club.

Running fresh off a brave second behind Double Superlative in the WSB Cape Town Met ten weeks ago, the son of Vercingetorix powered up the middle carrying topweight under replacement rider Morne Winnaar to catch the dour pacesetter Montien.

The big gelding produced a good finish to beat the late-running Port Louis (16-1) by a length in a time of 99,52 secs.

Montien (5-2) ran a good race a head back in third.

This was Rascallion’s first win in over a year, but the gelding has been a true soldier and

bumped the best in a career punctuated by a year break for an injury recovery.

“We will bring him back to win the Met in 2025,” joked owner Marsh Shirliff, who was joined by delighted breeder, Dr Veronique Kritzinger, on the podium.

It was Morne Winnaar’s first graded win for the season.

Sold on the Cape Premier Book 1 Sale for R350 000, Rascallion is a son of Vercingetorix (Silvano) out of the Jet Master mare, Sofala.

A winner of 5 races with 13 places from 25 starts, he took his total stakes earnings to R1 632 776.

Vaughan Marshall confirmed that his charge will be kept at home in the Cape for the balance of the Winter Series.

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A delighted Morne Winnaar took the late chance with both hands! | Credit: Chase Liebenberg


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Princess Izzy finishes full of running under Louis Mxothwa | Credit: Chase Liebenberg
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On a wonderful day in both centres for the Varsfontein Stud team, the Master Of My Fate filly Princess Izzy registered her maiden stakes victory, and her first win at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth, when she powered home to win the R200 000 Listed Sweet Chestnut Stakes.

Futura Park trainer Brett Crawford also enjoyed featured success up at Turffontein on Champions Day, and he will be thrilled to have won the Cape fairer sex feature for the good looking 3yo for owner Suzette Viljoen.

Sporting Post-sponsored jockey Louis Mxothwa rode a confident race to get Princess Izzy (6-1)

home to beat the fast finishing Enemy Territory (17-2) in a time of 87,31 secs.

My Flower Fate (10-1) duffed the start but ran a stormer to fly home late to get third.

A R650 000 National 2yo Sale purchase, the winner is a daughter of Jet Master’s son Master Of My Fate out of the unraced What A Winter mare, Destiny Dancer .

Princess Izzy has won 3 races with 5 places from her 9 starts for stakes of R349 701.

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King Louis! Sporting Post-sponsored Louis Mxothwa shows his joy at winning the feature | Credit: Chase Liebenberg


Keanen Steyn rode a well-judged race to get Zatara Magic home in the Friday feature | Credit: Pauline Herman

Keanen Steyn took the opportunity of a second-hand substitute ride to grab the feature honours at Fairview on Friday when he guided Gavin Smith’s Zatara Magic to an exciting win in the R175 000 Non Black-type Glenlair Trophy.

Originally carded to be ridden by the indisposed Craig Zackey, and then replaced by Marco van Rensburg, the difficult customer Zatara Magic found a new best mate in the shape of Keanen Steyn who gave him an ‘impeccable ride’, in the words of champion trainer Gavin Smith, to win a muddling pace 2800m feature.

With the leader Meddler’s Tart crawling along out front under Louis Mxothwa, and eventual winner Zatara Magic under a tight hold in his slipstream, Richard Fourie took the 5-4 favourite Bournemouth around the field to briefly challenge Meddler’s Tart for the role of the hare.

Bournemouth stayed in touch a few lengths off the leader, but he never really looked comfortable and was to run accordingly.

On the flipside, Keanen Steyn found things unfolding perfectly as he got Zatara Magic (132) to challenge the game leader Medlers Tart (7-2), eventually getting the better of her to go by and win by 1,25 lengths.

The winner’s time of 180,28 secs was over 6 seconds outside the 2800m course record of 174,80 secs set by the Meadowville filly What A Card in December 1989.

Great Affair (66-1) looked dangerous late and boosted the trifecta, running into third but appearing to contribute to the traffic issues experienced by the winner’s late finishing stablemate, Peace IN Our World (9-2).

Keanen Steyn explained afterwards that the jockeys were ‘yanking more than what we’d like to, while trying to get around the bend’.

“Zatara Magic was an angel. He never fought and gave me when I asked,” he added.

Hollywoodbets-sponsored winning trainer Gavin Smith that Meddlers Tart leading had worked perfectly for his charge.

“He is a bit of a a bull in a china shop. Getting him to settle is one thing. But then he often doesn’t turn it one when asked. Keanen (Steyn) is an old friend of our yard and he rode and impeccable race on a superbly fit horse,” added the veteran conditioner.

The extremely versatile winner, who extraordinarily shed his maiden as a juvenile over 1200m in 2022 under New Zealand champion jockey elect Warren Kennedy, has won at Non Black-type feature level on the all-weather over 1900m, and won at his first try over 2800. So, he really is versatility personified!

A Summerhill bred son of the Bloomhill-based Brave Tin Soldier stallion Rabada, the winner is out of the five-time winning Parade Leader mare Maritime Mist who scored up to 2200m.

A R120 000 November 2yo Sale graduate, Zatara Magic has won 4 races with 7 places from 24 starts for stakes of R407 714.

Honours were evenly spread on the day, with Kelly Mitchley and Smanga Khumalo enjoying a race-to-race double.

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Royal Victory has had his rating increased from 119 to 125 after coming from off the pace to win the World Pool Gr1 Premier’s Champions Challenge over 2000m at the Turffontein Standside Track on Saturday.

The Handicappers were of the view that 3rd placed Aragosta made for the most suitable line horse and as such his rating remains unchanged on 118.

2nd Winchester Mansion sees his rating raised from 121 to 124 after finishing half a length behind the now 125 rated winner Royal Victory.

There were no other upward adjustments in this race, however, Safe Passage was the only runner to receive a drop in ratings. His rating goes down slightly to 115 from 116.

TAB SA Derby (Grade 1)

Purple Pitcher remains unchanged on a rating of 120 after capturing the TAB Gr1 SA Derby over 2450m at Turffontein on Saturday.

Here it was the runner-up Pure Predator who was deemed to be the most suitable line horse, leaving him unchanged on 116. In rating the race this way, Purple Pitcher only runs to a mark of 116, hence his unaltered rating.

3rd placed Mondial, was adjusted to 115 from 105 having finished 0.15 of a length behind Pure Predator.

Notwithstanding the fact that the top 4 highest rated horses contested the finish in the race, the Handicappers took a conservative view of the rest of the horses here, as it was felt that this race was run at a sub optimal pace, with the time of the race being 160.38 seconds over the 2450m trip.

Consequently, the race produced a compact finish and the Handicappers felt that this may flatter some of the performances of the other runners.

Accordingly, Taxhaven was only adjusted to 96 despite running to considerably higher, having finished only 2.75 behind the 116 rated line horse at level weights.

Hotarubi was the only runner in this race to receive a drop in ratings and goes down to 114 from 116 after twice failing to confirm his performance figure of 116 he achieved in the Gr2 Gauteng Guineas.

Jonsson Workweak Computaform Sprint (Grade 1)

Thunderstruck remains unchanged on 124 after winning the Jonsson Workwear Gr1 Computaform Sprint over 1000m at Turffontein on Saturday. The Handicappers were of the opinion that Thunderstruck himself made for the most suitable line horse, hence his unchanged rating.

There were upward adjustments for four runners in this race.

3rd placed Rulership was adjusted to 119 from 115, while 4th placed Kiss Me Captain was increased to 112 from 110. Iphiko goes up to 111 from 108 and lastly, Ziyasha was adjusted to 116 from 114.

No runner received a rating’s drop in this race.

TAB Empress Club Stakes (Grade 1)

Gimme A Nother remains unchanged on a rating of 125 after winning the TAB Gr1 Empress Club Stakes over 1600m at Turffontein on Saturday.

The Handicappers were unanimous in their view that long-time leader Humdinger made for the most suitable line horse to rate this race.

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Accordingly, her rating remains unchanged on 116. In rating the race this way, 5th place finisher Perfect Witness also runs to her mark of 105, effectively making her a line horse as well.

There were no increases in ratings of any runner in this race. 4th place finisher Gilded Butterfly was the sole runner to receive a rating’s drop and goes down slightly to 108 from 109.

Wilgersbosdrift Bridget Oppenheimer SA Oaks (Grade 2)

The hugely progressive Frances Ethel has had her rating increased from a mark of 94 to 118 after winning the Wilgerbosdrift Gr2 Bridget Oppenheimer SA Oaks over 2450m at Turffontein Racecourse on Saturday.

The Handicappers were of the opinion that the runner up My Soul Mate made for the most suitable line horse, and she remains on a mark of 115.

Three other runners received increases in their ratings. 4th placed Beating Wings, went from 108 to 112 after finishing 2.00 lengths behind the 115 rated line horse here.

The Handicappers also noted that Beating Wings ran to a 112 in the Grade 1 Wilgerbosdrift SA Fillies Classic when it ran 5th behind Gimme A Nother.

She was only adjusted to a rating of 108 on that occasion as it was taken into consideration that she only finished 5th in a field of 9 runners, and the Handicappers opted not to take that performance literally.

However, the Handicappers were comfortable to adjust her to 112, having now confirmed that level in the Grade 2 Wilgerbosdrift Bridget Oppenheimer SA Oaks.

Explosive Bond received a partial increase from 90 to 96. The only other runner to be adjusted was Be Real, who was rated to run last of 10 but finished in 7th position, goes up

to 83 from 76 despite running to considerably higher.

This adjustment ensures that she will meet the 82 rated Mount Etna on correct terms should they meet in a handicap, having beaten that rival here at level weights.

There were no rating’s drop for any runner in the race.

TAB Hawaii Stakes (Grade 2)

Sandringham Summit remained on a mark of 123 after winning the TAB Gr2 Hawaii Stakes over 1400m at Turffontein on Saturday.

Here it was 4th placed Celtic Rumours, who was used to rate the race and she remained on a rating of 106.

In rating the race this way, the winner only achieves a rating of 121. The only runner to receive a ratings increase was the runner up Lucky Lad, who went from 117 to 119.

At My Command is down from 124 to 119 after failing to confirm the 124 rating he achieved in the Grade 2 Green Point Stakes in four subsequent starts.

The only other runner to receive a drop was Anfields Rocket, who is down 2 from 115 to 113.

4Racing Caradoc Gold Cup (Listed)

Rule Book had his rating only increased to 96 from 90 even though running to a higher mark here after winning the Listed 4Racing Caradoc Gold Cup over 2850m on Saturday.

It should be noted that due to the specific conditions of the race, the winner can only receive a maximum of 6 points and placed runners a maximum of 3 points.

The Handicappers were of the view that 4th placed Breeze Over made for the most suitable line horse and remained unchanged on 93.

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The only other runner to receive a ratings increase was Positive Attitude, who finished 4.80 lengths ahead of the line horse and goes up to 89 from 86 even though he ran to a much higher mark here.

Nebraas was the only runner to receive a drop in ratings and is down to 111 from 112.

Variety Club Mile (Grade 3)

Rascallion remained on a mark of 122 after winning the Gr3 Variety Club Mile over 1600m at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on Saturday.

Here it was 5th placed Wecangoallnight who was used to rate this race and remained on a mark of 109. In rating the race this way, the winner only run to a mark of 120.

No less than three horses received increases in ratings. The runner up Port Louis, who was unlucky in running went up to 111 from 109.

Both 4th placed FUTURE PRINCE and 6th placed Greeting My Master received partial rating increases from 95 to 101 and 88 to 95 respectively.

Two runners received rating drops, Montien is down to 116 from 119 and Somerset

Maugham drops to 100 from 102.

Sweet Chestnut Stakes (Listed)

Princess Izzy has had her rating increased from 91 to 99 after winning the Listed Sweet Chestnut Stakes over 1400m at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on Saturday.

The Handicappers were of the view that 4th placed Kyalami Girl made for the most suitable line horse here and she remained on a mark of 91.

The only other runner to receive a rating increase was My Flower Fate, who went to 87 from 85 after running on well from the back of the field.

Four runners received a drop in ratings, SIDDELEY is down to 92 from 95, Lady Mistico goes to 85 from 87, Fun Zone drops to 90 from 92 and lastly Trip To Maputo drops from 89 to 87.

Media release by the NHA on Tuesday, 09 April 2024.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6



Fabulous Frankie – shows it pays to follow top jockeys

Credit: Supplied

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Our own Frankie Dettori, Richard Fourie is on 245 winners for the season after another three-timer at Hollywoodbets Scottsville on Monday took him to within 13 of his personal best, and just 89 short of equalling Anthony Delpech’ SA record of 334, which has stood for a quarter of a century.

Our own Frankie Dettori, Richard Fourie is on 245 winners for the season after another threetimer at Hollywoodbets Scottsville on Monday took him to within 13 of his personal best, and just 89 short of equalling Anthony Delpech’ SA record of 334, which has stood for a quarter of a century.

Following the top in-form jockeys certainly makes sense, with Ritchie on a 22% win strikerate, and finding the places nearly 40% of the time!

And our top man has almost 15 years in his favour over the 53 year old legend Frankie Dettori, who made one punter very happy after riding six winners in a row at Santa Anita on Saturday.

For just a pound spent, the lucky – still anonymous – punter found Frankie in dream form winning on the 11-4 Ball Don’t Lie, 6-1 Recinto Rompere, 7-1 Roberta’s Love, 5-1 Kathynmarissa, 10-1 Nothing Like You and the 7-1 Royal Charter to win a potentially lifechanging £110 880.

Frankie abandoned his retirement plans to keep riding in California and showed that the magic is still there!

Leading trainer John Gosden observed that Frankie was seen in great form in Dubai last month, and that he is clearly relishing the California lifestyle of beautiful weather, lots of free time and no endless travelling, like his long suffering counterparts in the UK.

The Santa Anita six-timer has been the standout achievement of his time in the United States and the highlight, not that the lucky punter cared, was victory in the Gr2 Santa Anita Oaks on Nothing Like You for trainer Bob Baffert.

The charismatic rider said: “I adore this place and to be able to say that I won six races on Derby day is beyond my wildest dreams. I don’t know how to put it into words. Is it real? Am I dreaming? Is this really happening? It’s incredible. I just don’t know what to say.”

Best known for his Magnificent Seven at Ascot in 1996, when he won all seven races on the card, he began his winning streak with maiden scorer Ball Don’t Lie, before victory on Recinto Rompere in a claiming race. Then came success in the $125,000 Evening Jewel Stakes with Roberta’s Love.

Born in Milan, Frankie is the son of Italian champion jockey Gianfranco Dettori, who rode in South Africa in the 1970’s.

At the age of fourteen he went to Newmarket in England to work first as a stable lad, later as apprentice jockey and stable jockey in the yard of Luca Cumani, winning the British champion apprentice jockey title in 1989. He was appointed stable jockey for Sheikh Mohammed’s then newly-founded Godolphin Racing in 1994 and during the next eighteen years rode most of his worldwide big race victories in Godolphin’s royal-blue colours.

He was British flat racing champion three times – the first in 1994 at the age of 24.

Richard Fourie is 38 years old, so has taken time to find his stride. But he has clearly shown that it’s never too late to win your first national title!

Warren Kennedy did it for the first time at age 39, while Andrew Fortune was 40.

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Ridgemont seeks a competent work rider to join their team. Work will vary from riding breakers, pre-trainers, ready to run sale horses as well as older racehorses. The opportunity is based in Wellington, where a full-time position is available to the right applicant.

Please email us your CV including two contactable references. For more info during business hours only: +27 (0) 63 667 5383

EMAIL YOUR CV TO: julia@ridgemont.co.za

The national always draws the crowds! | Credit: Aintree Racecourse


The 176th annual running of the Randox Grand National Handicap Chase takes place at Aintree on Saturday afternoon. At time of writing, 51 runners were still declared for the famous steeplechase, but only 34 can run in the gruelling fourmile, two-furlong event.

Saturday is the third and final day of the Liverpool festival which stages seven Group 1 events on Thursday and Friday.

Not only is there big prize money on offer, but the champion trainer title is on the line with Dan Skelton leading his former boss Paul Nicholls by a mere £29,800 heading into the final few weeks. Irish raider Willie Mullins, very well represented in the big prize events, is also not out of it, half a million ‘quid’ behind Nicholls.

The UK has had plenty of rain over the last week, and track conditions are likely to remain

soft, heavy in places, so ground dependant runners are key.

The Four Group 1’s on Thursday are now declared, and the Irish are well represented in all of them.

Gold Cup runner-up Gerri Colombe from the Irish yard of Gordon Elliott takes on six rivals in the Aintree Bowl (15h55) on Thursday, the days highlight. His biggest threat looks to be last year’s winner Shishkin who comes here fresh after missing Cheltenham.

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The Nicky Henderson trained Shishkin will attempt to put a dreadful Cheltenham Festival behind the trainer after he withdrew many of his intended runners due to the form of his string.

Another Irish raider Corbetts Cross, so impressive in the National Hunt Chase, steps up into open company for the first time while Bravemansgame is worth considering on this flat track for defending champ Paul Nicholls. However, Gerri Colombe is fancied on his favoured ground.

Champion Hurdle third Luccia steps up in trip for the William Hill Aintree Hurdle (16h30) over two and a half miles.

The Henderson trained mare will face the Irish pair of Impaire Et Passe and Bob Olinger in a field of eight, with Cheltenham Coral Cup winner Langer Dan another to note for Skelton.

Thursday starts with the running of the Close

Brothers Manifesto Novices’ Chase (14h45). Grey Dawning and Ginny’s Destiny meet again after fighting out the finish in the Gr1 Turners at Cheltenham four weeks ago.

Dan Skelton’s big grey, Grey Dawning come out on top by two lengths and looks the one to beat, but the Mullins trained Il Etait Temps, third in the Arkle, could improve further stepping up in trip and must be respected on this flatter track.

The unbeaten and much vaunted Sir Gino takes on fellow unbeaten Kalif Du Berlais from the Nicholls stable in the Gr1 Boodles Anniversary 4-year-old Juvenile Hurdle at 16h20.

Willie Mullins saddles the mare Kargese who finished second to stable companion Majborough in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham and she receives a very handy 7lb sex allowance from her five rivals. She could be hard to catch here.

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Tony Cruz further cemented his place in Hong Kong racing’s firmament of stars by reaching the 1,500-win milestone as a trainer with Beauty Joy’s victory in the HK$5.35 million Gr2 Chairman’s Trophy at Sha Tin on Sunday.

Cruz, 67, became only the third trainer to reach the towering 1,500-win landmark in Hong Kong behind John Moore (1,735) and John Size (1,534), having also ridden 946 wins in Hong Kong as a six-time champion jockey and dual champion trainer.

Revered for excellence and longevity, Cruz was among the first intake of apprentices into The Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Apprentice Jockeys’ School in 1972 before starring in Hong Kong aboard champions such as Co-Tack and overseas with Triptych.

Since retiring as a jockey and taking out a trainers’ license in 1996, Cruz has relentlessly pursued success at the highest level, producing three Hong Kong Horse of the Year

winners – Silent Witness, Bullish Luck and Exultant – while building a stunning portfolio highlighted by Silent Witness’ Hong Kong record of 17 consecutive wins, and a string of Group 1 triumphs in the city.

Cruz has also prevailed at the highest level as a trainer abroad, striking twice at Group 1 level in Japan and again last month in Dubai with California Spangle in the Gr1 Al Quoz Sprint (1200m).

Crowned champion Hong Kong trainer in 1999/2000 and 2004/2005, Cruz said: “I’m very proud to be licensed by The Hong Kong Jockey Club for so many years. I’ve seen Hong Kong racing change so much over the years and I’m so lucky to be part of it.

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Tony Cruz celebrates his 1,500th Hong Kong victory | Credit: HKJC

“I was born and raised here. My Dad, Johnny, was a jockey. I was meant to be part of this racing game – to be a jockey and a trainer. The Hong Kong Jockey Club is one of the best places to train horses in the world. It’s an achievement in any trainer’s lifetime to make 1,500 winners.”

Cruz aims to bolster his collection of feature race wins when Beauty Joy tackles the HK$22 million FWD Champions Mile at Sha Tin on 28 April after the gelding slotted his most important win in Hong Kong after a clinical ride by Brenton Avdulla.

“He’s never been an easy horse to ride and you need a top jockey on, and Brenton was the man for the job today – he had a perfect race today. He’s always been a class horse, but difficult to ride in a race,” Cruz said after Beauty Joy finished strongly to down Beauty Eternal with Red Lion third in 1m 34.03s.

Avdulla, who has formed a powerful alliance with Cruz, said: “I think the barrier’s very important and probably a bit of rain in the ground, too. He was able to jump on terms and I was able to sort of hold my spot without using him too much, and it was probably the first time in a long time he hasn’t thrown his head, which is a bonus.”

Jumping smoothly, Beauty Joy tracked the leading division along the fence before fanning to the middle of the track in the straight and wearing down Beauty Eternal by one-and-aquarter lengths with the same margin to Red Lion.

Referring to Cruz’s achievement, the Australian said: “Cruz has always been a trainer or a jockey, he’s what everyone in Hong Kong aspires to be and he’s going to be a legend of the turf when we’re all gone in 100 years. He’s always going to be a part of history, so for me to link up with him in my first season, I owe him a lot. I’m very thankful.”

Cruz and Avdulla capped their Group 2 success with Californiatotality’s triumph in the

Class 4 Plantation Handicap on a memorable day for the duo.

Avdulla shared riding honours with compatriot Hugh Bowman, who scored with Lucky Sweynesse in the HK$5.35 million Gr2 Sprint Cup for Manfred Man and Hasten Delight for Francis Lui in the second section of the Class 3 Barker Handicap.

Winner of four races in Australia for Peter Robl, the Star Turn gelding earned a HK$1.5 million PP Bonus after surging to a one and threequarter length win at only his second Hong Kong start.

Winning Steps provided Pierre Ng with his 55th win of the season with victory under Matthew Poon in the Pollock Handicap after Chris So-trained Master Of All broke through at his 11th start with victory in the Class 5 Severn Handicap under Keith Yeung.

Derek Leung’s patience on Super Goldi provided decisive in the Class 4 Lugard Handicap to give Frankie Lor his 30th win of the campaign before Full Credit blitzed his opposition with a five-and-a-quarter length victory under Lyle Hewitson in the Class 4 Homestead Handicap for trainer Mark Newnham.

“He’s shown good ability from the time he’s started here. It was very impressive,” Newnham said. “I expected him to win, but I didn’t expect him to win like that. He’s improved a little bit each week.

“We’ve got lots of new horses like this and it’s just a matter of holding your nerve and being patient. The last thing you want to be is impatient because you can ruin a good horse before you make them a good horse.”

A masterful front-running ride by Alexis Badel enabled Danny Shum-trained Eighteen Carat to win the Class 3 Harlech Handicap.

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116 | 10 APRIL 2024 results up to: 2024-04-10 TRAINERS Name Other Places Place % Win Stake (R) Total Stakes (R) Runs Wins Win% 2nd 3rd Mr S J Snaith 744 84 11.3 84 87 133 304 40.9 9,690,194 14,674,825 Mr M F de Kock 417 55 13.2 63 47 79 189 45.3 5,975,938 11,288,813 Mr S G Tarry 478 59 12.3 52 61 125 238 49.8 6,118,750 11,112,075 Mrs C L Bass-Robinson 491 64 13.0 60 56 112 228 46.4 7,320,938 10,955,488 Mr B J Crawford 647 80 12.4 81 68 110 259 40.0 6,346,944 10,598,225 JOCKEYS Name Other Places Place % Win Stake (R) Total Stakes (R) Runs Wins Win% 2nd 3rd Mr R D Fourie 1105 245 22.2 179 125 240 544 49.2 16,774,563 25,678,069 Mr M A Yeni 1064 141 13.3 155 127 243 525 49.3 12,694,375 18,585,500 Mr G J Lerena 588 113 19.2 101 92 110 303 51.5 9,311,125 13,623,525 Mr C J Habib 865 105 12.1 86 102 171 359 41.5 8,240,313 12,451,150 Mr C Zackey 927 95 10.2 120 102 200 422 45.5 8,475,000 13,711,906 BREEDERS Name Places B.T. Winrs B.T. Wins Total Stakes (R) Runrs Runs AEPR Wnrs Wins Wilgerbosdrift & Mauritzfontein 303 1533 73,972 127 190 41.9 647 11 16 22,413,463 Drakenstein Stud (Nom: Mrs G A Rupert) 183 830 117,349 75 120 41.0 372 16 21 21,474,894 Varsfontein Stud 155 799 88,693 65 88 41.9 336 10 13 13,747,356 Klawervlei Stud 233 1172 48,916 86 109 36.9 465 1 1 11,397,400 Ridgemont Highlands 137 666 68,375 61 88 44.5 286 1 1 9,367,406 Wnrs/ Rnrs% SIRES Name Places B.T. Winrs B.T. Wins Total Stakes (R) Runrs Runs AEPR Wnrs Wins Gimmethegreenlight (AUS) 215 1013 88,301 85 119 39.5 436 7 13 18,984,625 Vercingetorix 184 860 83,032 91 130 49.5 368 6 7 15,277,963 Querari (GER) 172 878 62,252 69 92 40.1 384 7 8 10,707,413 Master Of My Fate 177 884 59,421 72 103 40.7 370 3 3 10,517,588 Rafeef (AUS) 124 564 79,864 47 73 37.9 250 7 9 9,903,113 Wnrs/ Rnrs% See all the detailed standings - Click here

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