(Photo : Gold Circle/MRX)
AND GAUTENG FILLIES GUINEAS
South Africa is a country of great cultural and geographic diversity. Capetonions live in a first world Mediterranean environment between two oceans, among seas of vineyards. The Highveld is a tableland, part arid, part temperate and part bushveld, and is home to some of the richest mines in the world and the greatest animal diversity. East of the Drakensberg, those of us who live in KwaZulu Natal celebrate the fact that we’re Africa’s Canaan, the land of milk and honey, often referred to as the Garden Province. Warm oceans, great mountains, the big five, and home to South Africa’s champion racehorse breeders.
Racing people and their horses, we tend to follow the seasons, with the beginning of the year punctuated by the Cape’s Summer “Sizzler”, as they call it, while the Johannesburg region hosts two racing seasons, one in spring and other in autumn, which has just gotten underway. And then, as the chills of winter descend on the frosty Highveld, racing comes to this part of the world, and it’s usually here, because of the season’s end and the number of Grade One events, that we generally see the emergence of our national champions.
Right now, it’s Guineas time in Gauteng (Johannesburg), and the best of the region’s three year olds meet on Saturday for the first of their Triple Crown, in the respective Colts (R1 million) and Fillies (R500k) versions of the Guineas.
Of course, these races are open to contestants from every region, and it’s often the case that horses raid from KwaZulu Natal, though not that often from the Cape. This means, in the context of this year’s three year old colts, that the Cape Guineas and Derby winners (Noordhoek Flyer and Bravura) will not be there, but in Galileo’s Galaxy, who was a good second in the Cape Guineas, we at least have a line on the form. Otherwise, all the suspects are there, and it’s a statement about the depth of the horses from this farm, that four of the fifteen entrants (27%) are from the self-same crop.