And now for the S.A. Derby and our old friends, the Muirs.
Sixty years ago almost to the month, Pat Goss Snr. chalked up his first Durban July victory, with St. Pauls, the smallest horse ever to win South Africa’s greatest sporting event.
The victory celebrations, hosted by one of the city’s loveliest “debs,” June Maguire, and attended it seemed, by all Durbanites that shared Pat Goss’ reverence for the Durban July, took place at the old Kew Hotel.
That same June Maguire is the first dam of Robin Muir, who together with her husband, the great American version of Roberto, is the owner of Summerhill’s stallion, Cataloochee. Saturday witnessed the birth of another Muir celebrity in R1million SA Derby (Gr1) hero, Ravishing, whose impressive win here franked the form of the SA Classic (Gr1) where Ravishing stayed on for 4th among what is now looking like a vintage crop of three year old colts.
Ahead of Ravishing that day were Divine Jury, and the two Summerhill breds, Emperor Napoleon and Pick Six, and the outcome of that race is developing into a mirror-image of the race for the Breeders Premiership in 2007, where Highlands Farms are beginning to deliver a bit of a check to multiple Champions Summerhill.
On another front, the battle for the SA Trainer’s title is by no means a settled affair. Cape-based Mike Bass is deservedly enjoying the season of his life, while Champion Mike de Kock is in close attendance.
What has thrown the ranks into a bit of turmoil was the titanic move of former Champion Jeff Woodruff on Saturday with three consecutive Group winners, including the Derby. There’s more to come on this one, that’s a racing cert.