Mike de Kock and Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum celebrated a super feature double at Turffontein on Saturday with the National Yearling Sale recordbreaking Var filly Ghaalla setting up a Cape Fillies Guineas date when producing a late finish to win the R275 000 Gr3 Fillies Mile.
After Hawwaam’s terrific victory in the Dingaans, his blue and white flag carrying stablemate kept things a lot more exciting.
The rain delayed feature was run under the lights and anybody who stayed to watch would not have been disappointed with the race producing the best finish of the day.
Neglected in the betting and jumping from a wide draw, the Var filly Ghaalla was some way off the gallop set by the Gr1 winning favourite Return Flight.
At the 400m Return Flight came under pressure and the longshot I like It made up ground doggedly down the rail with an upset on the cards. The daughter of Solskjaer ground away under Sherman Brown but Randall Simons had got Ghaalla interested and she started flying.
It was heads up and heads down at the line with Ghaalla getting the verdict by a short head in a time of 98,93 secs.
I Like It ran the race of her life – after winning an Assessment Plate at the Vaal last Tuesday!
The Starling Stakes winner Ronnie’s Candy came flying up late for third.
Mike de Kock reported afterwards that he believes Ghaalla to be a Triple Tiara type filly.
Bought for R5 million by Form Bloodstock for Shadwell SA at the 2017 BSA National Yearling Sale, the price tag of the Varsfontein Stud bred Ghaalla surpassed the previous R4,75 million paid for Savannah Cat in 2015.
She has now won 2 races with 3 places from 7 starts for stakes of R388 213.
The Varsfontein bred daughter of Var (Forest Wildcat) is out of the winning Captain Al mare Fidelity, a three parts sister to Gr3 East Cape Derby winner Captain Splendid and a half-sister to Gr2 winning sire Master Of My Fate, and the four time stakes winner Justthewayyouare.
Her second dam is Equus Champion Promisefrommyheart, whose six career wins included successes in the Gr1 Triple Tiara 1600 and Gr1 SA Fillies Guineas.
Mike de Kock’s Silvano colt Hawwaam staked his Cape Guineas claims in just over 97 seconds at Turffontein on Saturday when he charged clear to maintain his unbeaten record with an eyecatching victory in the R500 000 Gr2 Dingaans.
A traditional classic pointer, there is little question that the Dingaans class of 2018 had been considerably weakened by the withdrawal of Hawwaam’s Gr1 winning stablemate Soqrat.
But there was much more to like than doubt about the inexperienced Hawwaam’s Gr2 victory at just his second start.
Jumping from a wide draw, the winner of South Africa’s historic first ‘no crop’ race on Charity Mile day was last turning for home, and had the best part of ten lengths to make up at the 500m marker.
But after the KZN raider Thanksgiving had hit the front at the 350m looking very dangerous, Gavin Lerena unleashed Hawwaam and the son of Silvano simply lengthened his stride impressively to make up lengths to win going away and full of running by 3,40 lengths in a time of 97,63 secs.
Bred by Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein, Hawwaam was a R1 million National Yearling Sale graduate for Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum.
A son of multiple champion sire Silvano (Lomitas), he is a half-brother to Cape-based unbeaten Ideal World stakes winner Rainbow Bridge.
These two extremely smart males are out of the very versatile seven-time winner Halfway To Heaven (Jet Master), whose successes included the 2013 Gr3 Prix Du Cap. She was trained initially by Eric Sands and after changing hands, by Mike de Kock, during her racing career.
Halfway To Heaven is out of Pas De Basque, a somewhat light on pedigree Rambo Dancer mare that stood at Ingrid Klug’s Wynnholme Stud until her passing from a heart issue two years ago – she left behind a filly by Duke Of Marmalade.
For now we will savour the clash that looms in the Cape Guineas on 15 December with another unbeaten 3yo in Vaughan Marshall’s One World.
ONE WORLD – FEATURE DOUBLE FOR CAPTAIN AL
The extraordinary Cape Guineas legacy of a veteran trainer called Vaughan Marshall and a sire by the name of Captain Al took another giant step into the history books at Kenilworth on Saturday.