Imbongi (meaning a traditional poet of the Zulu or Xhosa people who composes poetry in praise of a leader) led the ultra competitive Drill Hall Stakes field to a merry dance when he reconfirmed his status as the best 3 year old miler in the country at Greyville on Friday night. He has simply gotten better with each run since being gelded and the son of Russian Revival notched up his third Gr 2 victory in his last four starts when seeing off stablemate Bold Ellinore, outsider Red Flyer and champion Pocket Power over 1400m at Greyville.

Red Flyer was quickest out of the pens and once the field had settled into some semblance of order, had established a clear lead over Something Else with Thunder Key and Imbongi handily placed. Lord Of The Sea and Bold Ellinore were next best with Rebel King on the inside. Floatyourboat and Light Spectrum were further back with Pocket Power, as usual, giving plenty of start and Tropical Empire even further back.

Brandon Lerena made a bold bid for honours in the straight, stealing a march and going some four lengths clear on Red Flyer and almost incredibly, it became clear that not too many of the more vaunted runners in the field were making an impression on him. The exceptions were the Mike de Kock pair of Imbongi and Bold Ellinore who finally collared him inside the final furlong and proceeded to fight out the finish, with Imbongi almost inevitably packing just too much of a finish for the game mare.

This was an impressive performance by Imbongi, who has already established himself as one of the better 3-year-old around and to beat the older horses under these weight-for-age conditions was no mean feat. After Eddington’s victory in Saturday’s Gomma Gomma Challenge, the current generation of sophomores is looking a lot stronger than one might have thought a few months ago and Imbongi is a horse who looks to have plenty of options ahead of him.

Bold Ellinore excelled in defeat as this was a rare appearance outside the female ranks for her and it was no disgrace to be beaten by a horse who is clearly on the upgrade even as she enters the closing phase of her career. She loves this track and thoughts must surely be turning to the Garden Province Stakes on July day.

Imbongi is a 3-year-old gelding by Russian Revival (USA) out of Garden Verse (SAF) by Foveros (GB). Bred by Summerhill Stud, he is owned by Messrs MD Fleischer, OV Leibbrandt, BS Clements RS & BA Napier & Summerhill Stud Syndicate (Nom: M J B Goss).

Winning trainer: Mike de Kock

Extract from SA Horseracing

Race 9 - R300K - DRILL HALL STAKES (Grade 2)
Horses at Weight-For-Age - 1400m

No

Horse

Jockey

Al/Bl

Kg

Dr

Fin

Dist

Time

13

IMBONGI

Anthony Delpech

A -

56.0

9

1

0.00

84.85

14

BOLD ELLINORE

Kevin Shea

A P

55.5

15

2

1.25

85.08

12

RED FLYER

Brandon Lerena *0.0

A -

58.0

4

3

2.75

85.36

1

POCKET POWER

Bernard Fayd’Herbe

A -

58.0

10

4

3.50

85.50

11

TROPICAL EMPIRE (AUS)

Ian Sturgeon

A -

58.0

11

5

3.75

85.55

2

FLOATYOURBOAT

Karl Neisius

A B

58.0

3

6

5.00

85.78

8

HILGROVE

M J Byleveld

A -

58.0

7

7

5.15

85.81

4

REBEL KING

Anton Marcus

A -

58.0

1

8

7.15

86.19

5

APPELATE COURT

Corne Orffer

A -

58.0

13

9

7.90

86.33

10

LORD OF THE SEA

Raymond Danielson

A -

58.0

6

10

8.15

86.38

17

LIGHT SPECTRUM

Sean Cormack

A -

58.0

5

11

8.90

86.53

6

SILVER MIST

Andrew Fortune

A -

58.0

2

12

9.00

86.55

15

OUTCOME

Robbie Hill

A B

55.5

16

13

9.25

86.59

9

THUNDER KEY

Stuart Randolph

A -

58.0

14

14

10.25

86.79

7

SOMETHING ELSE

Gavin Lerena

A B

58.0

8

15

10.50

86.84

3

EQUAL IMAGE (ARG)

Kelvin Jupp

A X

58.0

17

16

25.00

89.73

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