Luke Ferraris guides Ikigai to an easy victory (Pic – JC Photos)
The R200 000 Gr3 Three Troikas Stakes produced a three-cornered grandstand finish at Turffontein on Saturday with a half length separating the quartet.
Craig Zackey kept a cool head to register a 23rd stakes winner for Mauritzfontein’s Kingmambo sire Ideal World.
Many would argue that the 3yo fillies feature produced the finish of the day and it was the Gary Alexander stable who popped the champagne as the progressive Mount Laurel – a R50 000 bargain buy – stamped herself an emerging classic prospect to register her fourth victory in five starts.
After Wisteria Walk had shown the way to Frosted Steel, Zackey slipped the relaxed Mount Laurel through down the inside rail at the 350m mark and the Mauritzfontein &Wilgerbosdrift bred galloper got the better of Magic School, who looked dangerous late in the race.
Mount Laurel outstayed them with a perfectly timed effort and held off the flying Victoria Paige (8-1) and Magic School (23-4) to record a gutsy and hard earned short head verdict in a time of 84,99 secs.
The more fancied pacesetter Wisteria Walk (21-4) and Mike de Kock’s rather enigmatic Gin Fizz (7-2) finished out of the money.
Signed for at a thrifty R50 000 by the shrewd equine heads of Gary Alexander Racing at the 2018 BSA National 2yo Sale, Mount Laurel has earned R305 375 with 4 wins from 5 starts.
She is bred to go 2400m plus – being by Ideal World (Kingmambo) out of the one-time winning Fort Wood mare, Far Hills.
It’s a stout pedigree from South Africa’s champion breeders. Ideal World carries a leading international pedigree – his dam Banks Hill is a Juddmonte-bred full sister to sire Dansili – a Champion sire in his own right, along with Intercontinental, Cacique and Canadian Horse Of The Year, Champs Elysee as well as Heat Haze.
SA national log-leading jockey Warren Kennedy and trainer Paul Peter retained their top-class strike-rate and again came out tops in a tight finish.
This time it was the Pathfork mare Jet Start who broke the heart of Alec Laird’s Green Haze in a desperately tight finish to the R200 000 Gr3 London News Stakes at Turffontein on Saturday.
When things are going well, little goes against the grain and when Jet Start looked to have plenty to do at the 300m with ground to make up on the leader Chijmes, the London News Stakes outcome was balanced on a knife-edge.
But the KZN-based Warren Kennedy pulled the confidence badge as he drove the Pathfork mare hard with S’manga Khumalo looking to be the joker in the pack on the strong-finishing Green Haze.
With Chijmes just running out of juice in the final 50m, Kennedy hit the line and saluted as Jet Start (10-1) pipped Green Haze (9-2) by a nose in a time of 112,21 secs.
Chijmes (7-2) ran his heart out as usual to stay on for third, a half length back.
The favourite Al Mutawakel (12-10) showed little interest early and put in his best late in the race – eventually running fourth and a length off the winner.
Bred by the Dimakogiannis partnership, in whose renowned royal blue and white that she races, the winner – the only member of the fairer sex in the small field – is by form Ridgemont Highlands Irish Champion Pathfork (Distorted Humor) out of the unraced Jet Master mare, Jet Mark.
This was a deserved first stakes success for Jet Start who took her earnings to R588 925 for her sixth win with 8 places from her 22 starts.
South African Champion trainer Sean Tarry has a terrific seven months to look forward to and he added another bow to his SA Triple Crown ambitions when the Vercingetorix colt Ikigai ran out a facile winner of the R200 000 Gr3 Tony Ruffel Stakes at Turffontein on Saturday.
Fair enough, a seven horse field for one of Gauteng’s leading classic pointer features doesn’t exactly get the juices flowing and the Gr1 Premiers Champion Stakes winner Got The Greenlight was clearly ring-rusty after a 23 week break.
But the handsome chestnut Ikigai could not have been more impressive and the Tarry-Van Niekerk gold club duly rubbed their five opponents noses in it by banking the top two cheques.
The 1400m feature was, unlike the fairer sex equivalent a half hour earlier, mostly uneventful,
Calvin Habib did the donkey work up front on the newly gelded Westlife (33-1) and Avontuur-sponsored Luke Ferraris produced the magic at the 300m, with the favourite Ikigai (5-4) streaking past his stablemate to win by an unpressured 4,50 lengths in a time 84,30 secs.
The Tarry pair stayed on ahead of the balance.
The fancied John Hancock (7-2), racing at level weights with the top two, finished 0,75 lengths back in third.
Topweight Gr1 winning 2yo of last season Got The Greenlight gave them 7kgs and more and ran 6.25 lengths back in fourth – clearly in need of it.
If anything, Gary Alexander’s paper-weighted filly Gaian Glory was disappointing, running out of the money and beaten 8 lengths.
Bred by Klawervlei Stud, the winner has registered 3 wins with 2 places from 5 starts for stakes of R274 375.
He is by the exciting Vercingetorix out of the one-time winning Al Mufti mare, Al Shiba.