The weekend got off to a bumper start when Catmandu’s half brother, Ecole Militaire by Deep Sleep, (cost R180 000) got out of the blocks first time up over 1200 m at Fairview for Owner of The Year Peter Fabricius, and leading East Cape trainer, Des Mchlachlan. In close pursuit was yet another Ready To Run product from last year’s sale, Paris To Lyon (cost R90 000). There have been no fewer than five individual first-timers this month from last year’s Ready To Run, and the big race on the 3rd November for R500 000 at Turffontein is shaping up as a blockbuster.
Right now, favoritism is likely to rest with two Mike de Kock runners, Galant Gagnant (by Kahal), who was so impressive at Clairwood on his debut, and likely to share top spot on the boards with Imbongi (by Russian Revival) who was a runaway winner of the Allowance Plate at Turffontein on Saturday making it two in a row for this half brother to Full Spectrum and Prima Versa. What really mattered about Imbongi’s win was the fact that, in the process, he beat the 8-10 favourite, Da Vinci’s Legacy (imported son of Peintre Celebre), who on his last start was sixth behind Argonaut (recently sold for R15 million) in the Premier’s Champion Juvenile Stakes (Gr 1) at Clairwood.
Starting at level weights with (58 kgs) with this adversary, Imbongi sat fifth (in a field of seven) in the race, and strode clear under a hands-and-heel from jockey Jannie Becker, suggesting he might well be among the generation leaders on the Highveld. This horse has an extremely bright future, and his obvious targets will be the R500 000 Emperor’s Palace Sweepstakes at the beginning of November, and then no doubt, he will target The Dingaans (Gr 2). Imbongi was bred in partnership with Dr Barry Clements of Perth, and is a half brother to the highly talented Gary Alexander runner, Spring Garland.
Speaking of the Alexanders, they were yet another beneficiary of the Ready To Run on the weekend when Red Carnation defeated a quality field of fillies in the last event on the Turffontein card, prompting Gary Alexander to announce that if it were not for her problems, she would rank up there with the best fillies in the country. The Alexanders have had a great run with the Russian Revivals of late, and no doubt they will be among those who will be delighted by the thought that there are several of them in our draft for the Ready To Run.