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Phunyuka in the 2009 August Stakes (Listed)
(Footage : Tellytrack)
The new Feature race season got underway at the Vaal this weekend, and if you’re serious about championships, it’s always good to hit the ground running. One of the oldest families at Summerhill traces to the foundation mare, Coconut Ice, whose mother was a sister to the legendary Politician. Among Coconut Ice’s distinguished performers was the exceptional staying three-year-old filly, Catch Twenty Two, who despite visiting some of the vaunted stallions of their era, was a little disappointing in her second career. Nonetheless, she did leave behind the one-time winner Catch Me (by Seattle Slew’s half brother Argosy), who was sent to Summerhill by her erstwhile owner, Wally Brits, one of the characters of our sport.
Wally is a lovable fellow and a very successful owner, (and we’ve told him this, so we’re not scandling), but he’s just not cut out for the breeding game. No sooner had Catch Me arrived here than she proceeded, on our watch, to produce the Graded Stakes placed (Ace’s Wild) by a rather ordinary sire, Alami), and now she’s popped up with very first Stakes winner (by Slew The Red) in the form of Phunyuka (which, literally translated is, “to escape”, rather appropriate for a son of Catch Me).
So Phunyuka become Catch Me’s second Black type performer on Saturday, with a flying finish to take the honours in the August Stakes (Listed), the principal trial for the R600 000 Emerald Cup, due to be run at the back end of September over the same course. For the record, Phunyuka was a R90 000 purchase at the 2007 Ready To Run Sale, and was a close-up fifth in the inaugural running of the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup, behind the likes of Imbongi,Umngazi and ahead of Art Of War and Galant Gagnant, suggesting that his big day was only a matter of time.
The other Feature on the card, the Banyana Handicap (Listed) was the scene for the first Black Type performance in the career of Paradise Alley(by Muhtafal), a R110 000 graduate of the same venue, who closed dramatically in the dying strides of the event for second, denied only by the fact that she ran out of ground. This six time winner returns to Summerhill now for a date, it seems, with A.P.Arrow, if our matings committee gets its way. She does of course have a number of other connections who might think otherwise, but it’s worth remembering how potent the A.P.Indy/Mr.Prospector cross is, and just how perfectly the two of them are suited at the physical level.