Some top horses have raced in the colours of Mary Liley, one the springs to mind being Queen’s Plate and Champion Stakes winner Bold Monarch back in 1979. She has had some good horses since but none as good, until maybe Sunday.
The lightly raced gelding Tristful gave notice that he will be a horse to be reckoned with over the last few months of the season but as Tony Rivalland, caution, “the pressure’s on now,” after the gelding scored an eye-catching win in the Gr3 Byerley Turk at Greyville yesterday.
“You haven’t seen the best of him yet,” said Veale. “Wait until he goes 2000m, that’s his game.”
Given those words, Tristful will probably go the traditional route for three-year-old males, the KZN Guineas, Daily News 2000, and all going well, a possible tilt at the Vodacom Durban July.
The July is still 88 days away and a lot can happen in the interim, but Liley and Rivalland got proof yesterday that they are in with a shout at least.
Temple Grafin, winless since The Debutante at the end of last season, opened her seasonal account in the Gr3 Umzimkulu Stakes under another tremendous ride from Anton Marcus. Inching his way into a challenging position from his outside draw, Marcus had Temple Grafin within striking distance coming off the false rail and the filly came forward gallantly to outgun Santa Clara and Silvano’s Pride.
Richard Fourie had no hesitation taking favourite Silvano’s Pride to the lead and she set a strong pace, tracked by Santa Clara who had the run of the race. These two hooked up at the top of the straight with Santa Clara slowly wearing down her rival, but neither had an answer to the late challenge from Temple Grafin, Glen Kotzen’s filly getting up close home.
It was a thrilling finish for Drakenstein who stand sire Duke Of Marmalade in a 1-2 finish with Temple Grafin and Santa Clara. The latter is a Maine Chance-bred half-sister to 2019 stallion prospect Horizon.