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(Footage : Tellytrack)
R1,5 MILLION EMPERORS PALACE READY TO RUN CUP
7 NOVEMBER 2009
If you were a marketing man charged with promoting the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup next weekend, you’d be pinching yourself right now. Already dubbed by more than one expert the strongest field of Three Year Olds this season, the events of the past three days have turned most fans’ predictions on their heads, leaving the betting market in “murky” waters.
Going into Tuesday morning, the entries were beginning to develop a nice, settled look about them, and if it weren’t for the fact that there was a supplementary stage today, that would’ve been that. Havasha at the top of the boards; with a run, the R2,2 million sale topper of last year, Trafalgar Legacy would’ve been close behind; and on the strength of the way he finished on Saturday, Pierre Jourdan might’ve been bracketed alongside. Only a short head would’ve separated them from Smanjemanje, but let’s not discount the 3,25 length battering the filly, Fisani, gave to her field from the outside draw the previous Tuesday.
These were theprotagonists, or so it seemed, but the turmoil set in as early as Tuesday. Charles Laird sent out a R1 million graduate of the sale in the form of Blue Voyager, who kicked off at the prohibitive odds of 8/10, and came home as an odds-on favourite shot. He was immediately declared a player for the big one on Saturday 7th.
It’s not Charles Laird’s style these days to settle for a single entry though, and while he’d been under plenty of pressure to prepare him for the event, he stepped out Bhusende for his debut effort amid the showers of yesterday afternoon. Not yet biologically three (he’s a late November foal), the son of the Champion Australian Sire, Flying Spur, got down, literally, to business in impressive style to make his a winning “opener”, catapulting himself right into the reckoning.
There will be those that ask how a colt of this class should still be wearing the Summerhill colours. There’s a story to it. Bhusende means the same as Mahala (or “Free” in Zulu), and it seems buyers took this literally, as this fellow came under the hammer at last year’s Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale. He cost close to R700 000 to land in South Africa, yet the last bid of R250 000 was tended by an England-based pal of the Mooi River farm, and they quickly assembled a small partnership to hold the horse. Another likely to make the cut for Saturday is Mluleki, and Paul Matchett will send him out wearing the Summerhill colours as well. He was passed out at R60 000 on account of a lack of interest.
The history of the Ready To Run has plenty of these stories. The outstanding stayer and quadruple Group One performer, Amphitheatre, was one who left the ring unsold with the modest reserve of R30 000 on his head. He went on to earn something approaching R1,25 million, in a career which saw him miss a cheque only once in 35 starts. The international performer Imbongi, now the earner of more than R3 million in stakes, was another neglected child when he passed through the ring unsold, the last bid in the vicinity of R50 000. Two Guineas and a Drill Hall Stakes later, he was sold for a considerable sum to a Middle Eastern Sheikh, who’s well on his way to getting his money back, and will surely do so, with a bit of luck at next year’s Dubai Carnival.
That’s not the end of the tale. Going into the last on the Vaal card yesterday, it looked all over for Charles Laird’s two imports who’d shown encouraging form in their debut efforts. It was not to be though, as Ivan Snyman and Ernie Anderson’sNyakatho, cruised home by an increasing 8 lengths over the last 300m of the race, and he pretty much sealed his place in the line-up for Saturday with this effort. Nyakatho comes from the other end of the scale, costing a relatively modest R100 000, which his connections will return if he just makes the first four in “The Cup”.