GR2 GAUTENG GUINEAS
Sean Tarry’s Vercingetorix colt Ikigai set a poser for the SA Triple Crown forecasters when he cruised to victory in the first leg, the R1 million Gr2 Gauteng Guineas, at Turffontein on Wednesday evening.
While he is bred to stay beyond the 1800m of the second leg SA Classic, trainer Sean Tarry observed that the 3yo would be ‘at home in the Computaform Sprint’!
Winning rider, apprentice Luke Ferraris also expressed some doubts about a more testing trip, saying that Ikigai was ‘quite keen’. But talk is cheap and time will tell and at this stage, the 2450m of the SA Derby is a lifetime away.
The victory by the handsome chestnut signalled a feature double on the evening for the Tarry-Ferraris-Van Niekerk-Klawervlei combination after Silver God won the Listed Wolf Power 1600 earlier.
A promising sort, Ikigai had largely been kept under wraps by Tarry until winning the Gr3 Tony Ruffel Stakes in early January, whereafter the handicappers sat up and gave him an overdue MR hike from 98 to a 114.
On Wednesday evening, he went through the motions and, starting a popular 22-10 favourite, beat the De Kock grey Frosted Gold (4-1) by 1,75 lengths in a time of 97,99 secs.
Recent Gr3 Sea Cottage Stakes winner Green Laser (16-1) won the hard-fought race for third a further two lengths adrift, with the always thereabouts Astrix (22-1) a neck back in fourth.
Al Borak appeared to clip heels at about the 800m marker and unseated Denis Schwarz, who was on his way to hospital for observations after the race. There was no news on the condition of the promising gelding.
Ikigai is from the first crop of the exciting Maine Chance stallion Vercingetorix (coincidentally bred by Klawervlei) out of the one-time winning Al Mufti mare, Al Shiba. Ikigai is thus bred on a similar cross to the Silvano sired Gr1 winners Al Sahem, Bold Silvano, and Kings Gambit.
Ikigai has won 4 races with 2 places from 6 starts for stakes of R854 375.
The R6-million SA Triple Crown for 3-year-olds is the richest series of races in Africa.
The second leg is the R1,5 million Gr1 SA Classic run over 1800m on the Turffontein Standside on Saturday 7 March.
The third leg is the R1,5 million Gr1 SA Derby run over 2450m on the Turffontein Standside on Saturday 4 April.
A bonus of R2 million will be paid to the owners of the horse that wins all three legs of the SA Triple Crown.
WILGERBOSDRIFT GAUTENG FILLIES GUINEAS
The drama of a rein dropped late in running failed to unhinge the SA Triple Tiara dream for the high-riding combination of Warren Kennedy and Paul Peter! And the Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein teams celebrated a dramatic first leg victory for the magnificent undefeated Silvano filly Summer Pudding at Turffontein on Wednesday evening.
Mike de Kock’s Galileo flyer Igugu was the first filly to win the Triple Tiara. That was in 2011 and Ormond Ferraris-trained Cherry On The Top emulated the feat in 2013.
It has not been won since and the dream is surely on now with Summer Pudding only likely to get better as the distances step up from Wednesday’s R500 000 Wilgerbosdrift Gr2 Gauteng Fillies Guineas.
Warren Kennedy had the 23-10 favourite Summer Pudding about five lengths off the gallop set by Querari Ferrari and Virtuosa, with Rio’s Winter in the mix.
In the run for home, Virtuosa loomed dangerously as Kennedy got to work on Summer Pudding, who was taking her time to find her stride.
Piere Strydom, who has walked the Triple Tiara road with plenty of emotion in the past, scented blood and Rio’s Winter (9-1) came forward looking a winner.
But Kennedy can do little wrong and he kept Summer Pudding focussed as the daughter of Silvano came right back to gain a neck verdict in a time of 99,39 secs.
Oratorio daughter Rio’s Winter ran the race of her life in second and managed to hold off an unlucky Victoria Paige (15-2), who jumped from the widest draw and had her path blocked late.
Running off a rest of 14 weeks, David Niewenhuizen’s Mill Queen just tired late but held on gallantly for fourth,
Warren Kennedy said that they slowed the pace and he had to get to work on his mount early on ‘when the others were still sitting’.
“Rio’s Winter passed me, but testimony to Summer Pudding’s class she came right back at them. She came through the mile test. It’s now at her mercy, I think!” added the red hot Kennedy.
Trainer Paul Peter inherited Summer Pudding from his mentor Ormond Ferraris.
“I have been driving him crazy. I was worried she was underdone. Mr Ferraris came to see her today and gave her the thumbs up. And to my ex-boss James Maree. Wonderful owners. My son Tony. I have so many people to thank,” he added emotionally.
Jessica Jell – who recently gave birth to a daughter – and her Mom Mary Slack, were on course.
The winner is by champion sire Silvano (Lomitas) out of seven-time winning stakes winner Cherry On The Cake(Strike Smartly) – the latter a half sister to SA Triple Tiara winner Cherry On The Top (Tiger Ridge). They were daughters of the top-class Carolina Cherry.
Summer Pudding has made it a perfect four from four and took her earnings to R520 375.
The Wilgerbosdrift SA Triple Tiara is the richest series of races for fillies in Africa.
The second leg is the R1-million Wilgerbosdrift Gr1 SA Fillies Classic to be run over 1800m on the Turffontein Standside on Saturday 7 March.
The third leg is the R750 000 Wilgerbosdrift Gr2 SA Oaks to be run over 2450m on the Turffontein Standside on Saturday 4 April.
A bonus of R1 million will be paid to the owners of the filly that wins all three legs of the Triple Tiara.
GR3 TOMMY HOTSPUR HANDICAP
Lucky Houdalakis’ Pathfork gelding Mr Flood is one of the great comeback from absolutely nowhere success stories.
The gelding registered his fifth successive victory with a dazzling display of guts and speed to lift the honours in the R200 000 Gr3 Tommy Hotspur Handicap at Turffontein on Wednesday.
Bloodstock South Africa could not have scripted a better mobile advert for their Cape Yearling Sale on 28 February. Mr Flood cost just R50 000 on the great value regional sale in 2017, and took his earnings to over the half million mark at only his eighth start.
And it was just six weeks ago that the classy 4yo returned from a 417 day break to win the R200 000 Gr3 Lebelo Sprint at the same venue. He had been rested after dual knee chip operations, and made it a return hat-trick with his terrific victory here.
Regular pilot Marco van Rensburg, fresh off a double at Fairview 24 hours earlier, had Mr Flood flashing his natural speed early on as the filly Fly Away, her stablemate Chief Of State, and Gimme A Wave, led the charge.
At the 300m it was clear that Mr Flood (5-4) was spewing venom, and despite a late charge from off the speed by Sean Tarry’s 8yo Mombela (25-1), there was no stopping the Houdalakis flyer who galloped all the way to the post to win by half a length in a nippy 56,58 secs.
Rivarine (35-1) ran another honest race to bank third cheque, with Romi’s Boy (16-1) competing the quartet.
The rest were well beaten, with the Spies runner Basilius unfortunately pulled out of the race just before halfway.
Bred by Willempie Engelbrecht Jnr, Mr Flood is a son of Ridgemont Highlands sire Pathfork (Distorted Humor) out of the three-time winning Jallad mare, Last Word Pam.
He is now a winner of 6 of his 8 starts and,having banked R501 574,he has proven enormous value for his R50 000 BSA 2017 Cape Yearling Sale price tag.