Let’s face it, Chris van Niekerk’s Buy And Sell (by National Emblem) ran one helluva race, stepping up to Grade One company as though he’d been there all his life, and against all the odds. After all, Emperor Napoleon (by Kahal) was second favourite for the Vodacom July and had earned every bit of his 5/10 price.

So what stopped him? There’d been talk of stamina doubts, but few were aware that the only reason his trainer, Mike de Kock thought they may exist, was a growing concern that he might be suffering with his breathing. And so it turned out, “The Emperor’s” gone in the wind, which makes his 3rd place finish all the more meritorious.

mike destombesMike DestombesFor Mike Destombes, his owner, and the de Kock yard, the consolation is the problem is on the left side of his breathing “apparatus”, and given some luck, it’s eminently reparable. Hopefully, he’ll be back in time, and pick up the Group One which has so cruelly evaded him (he’s run 3 seconds and two thirds in that company since January). Meanwhile, we can only salute a horse whose trainer says has battled with the “wind” issue in all of his three most recent starts, one of which was a spectacular 2nd ( in the circumstances) to his Summerhill paddock-mate, Pick Six, in the richest race on the Continent, the Gomma Gomma.