We ran an advert a few weeks ago where the message was, more-or-less, that whenever there was Group One racing these days, there’s almost inevitably a Summerhill runner in the field.
Saturday’s big meeting at Turffontein was no exception, with 5 Group races on the card, and a healthy gathering of farm graduates in each. Satisfyingly, we earned cheques in all but one, including a resounding “bang” from IMBONGI in the Guineas.
Yet you can never bank on a fistful of candidates for the Classics until the Three-Year-Old generation reveals its full hand, and this year’s lot have been hiding their talents largely under a bushel (or in the bush, more appropriately) until the last fortnight.
This time last year, we already had an embarrassment of riches in the likes of Pick Six, Emperor Napoleon, Dynamite Mike and Rebel King among the best sophomores in the land, with at least three of them already having got their feet wet.
But the last fortnight has been a revelation for the lot of 2008. Paris Perfect and Lostintranslation had already hinted at their own aspirations, but both have since given serious notice that they’re going to be players, when the KZN season gets into proper swing.
Paris Perfect knocked over the best of his elders on Friday in the Ibhayi Handicap at Arlington, and virtually wrapped up the East Coast’s ‘Three-Year-Old Colt of the Year’ title in doing so, while Lostintranslation put up the most emphatic performance at Durbanville, defeating one of Cape Town’s most promising Classic colts by a widening 3 lengths.
His effort was so remarkable it prompted jockey Andrew Fortune to proclaim he was packing for Durban (and mercifully not for Perth) immediately in order to guarantee himself the ride!
In one of racing’s biggest recent transformations, IMBONGI went from Prince to Pauper and back to Prince, in a matter of 3 weeks, as he moved himself back to the top of the Gauteng Classic class with his big moment in the Colts session of the Guineas, and marked himself as a contender for the honours in next month’s R1,25 million SA Classic.
But that’s not the end, and with the rate of his current improvement, it could be a case of rewriting this script in a few months, as Art Of War made it a hattrick of wins for Sheikh Mohammed at Scottsville Sunday, earning his place in the lineup for the SA Guineas in May.
And lets not forget, UMNGAZI, it was that defeated MBONGI in the Emperor’s Palace Ready To Run Cup in November. He could be lying in wait for all of them in the Daily News 2000 (Gr1) come the first Saturday in June.
Posted by Mick Goss