We’ve come to the end of an amazing fortnight for Summerhill, with our runners posting exceptional performances in the KZN Guineas, the East Cape Guineas, the Gomma Gomma Challenge, the Strelitzia Stakes, the Pointsetta Stakes and the Drill Hall Stakes.
Remember these names; Imbongi, Bold Ellinore, Paris Perfect, Thekkady, Catmandu, Imbongi (again) and on Sunday’s card at Scottsville, Hot Reception.
We didn’t think it could get much better after Friday evening’s epic in the Drill Hall at Greyville, but this game has a knack of rolling for you when it does, and it seems every dice we throw right now turns up “six”. In the Poinsetta Stakes (Gr.3,) Muhtafal’s daughter, Hot Reception, part-owned by the farm with Rupert Plersch, Rodney Zeeman, Roger Thorpe looked like an unlikely winner in the face of the stiffest opposition she’d met so far. The field included last year’s Champion Two Year Old, Rat Burana, last year’s filly winner of the S.A. Fillies Sprint (Gr.1), Ethereal Lady, and the multiple Grade One winner, Soft Landing, and the task was made all the more difficult by the fact that the race was run over the course and distance of the S.A. Fillies Sprint (Gr.1), on precisely the same level-weight terms. This meant that Hot Reception had to stretch herself further than what has thus far been considered her optimum trip, and at a considerable disadvantage in handicapping parlance to these three Grade One winners. However she hopped out in great style, relaxed on the lead, and as Brandon Lerena was heard to say in the post-race interview “it’s always difficult to catch a horse with a relaxed lead in these circumstances”.
Her trainer, Herman Brown Jnr, is currently in Singapore, so we’ve not spoken to him yet, but no doubt he has the Grade One S.A.Fillies Sprint in mind for Hot Reception now, and considering that her principal adversaries are likely to number the three just mentioned again, she must be in with an outstanding chance.
This was Muhtafal’s fifth Graded Stakes winner of the season, and Hot Reception was chalking up his 8th Stakes win of the year.
Before we depart the “Muhtafal” scene, its worth noting that, while Hot Reception’s victory was registered over 1200 metres, yet another Muhtafal was doing battle over 2400 metres in the East Cape Derby (Gr.3) as the odds-on choice, and while he didn’t quite get home over the distance, Paris Perfect was gallant in second place, underscoring again that Muhtafal is capable of getting runners beyond 2000 metres every now and then. Veiled Essence counts Gold Circle Oaks among her victories, and he’s had other Oaks-placed fillies in his time. Now he’s had a colt to tell us that 2400m is almost attainable.