Sithela wins the Sophomore 1000
(Photo : JC Photos / Summerhill Stud)
THE EMPERORS PALACE READY TO RUN SALE
Sunday 6th November 2011
If you’re old enough, you’ll remember Anthony Sher’s wonderful rendition of the role of Fagan in the Oliver Twist of the 1960’s, before the South African actor went on to even bigger things in Shakespeare’s Richard III, which played for extended seasons in London’s West End.
Oliver Twist was an unwanted urchin of the London streets, though he did once have a sprinting namesake in the racing world, who like Oliver, could run like hell.
At Summerhill we’ve known our share of unwanted urchins, though ours were different, as they were rejects of the salesring. R8 million plus earner, Imbongi, who made the 2010 Dubai Racing Carnival his own as their biggest earner; Amphitheatre, who went on to become a millionaire, Paris Perfect, Bold Ellinore and Emperor Napoleon are just a few that spring quickly to mind. You could’ve bought everyone of them for as little as R60,000 at some point or other, and several of them were turned away by the market at two sales, never mind one.
The latest “victim”, is Sithela, who romped off with the spoils in the Sophomore Sprint at the big meeting at the Vaal on the weekend, putting down a highly competitive field, including a Group One performer or two in the process. He was engaged in last year’s Emperors Palace Ready To Run sale, failed to make his money at R60,000, and then was the subject of a failed sale in the Ready To Run section of Michael Holmes Horses In Training sale at Shongweni in February, where the final money as a paltry R50,000.
His trainer, Roy Magner, relates that he was as “dumb” as could be in his first two starts, and that he didn’t know what the game was about when the gates opened on him. He was left trailing as a result, but ran on resolutely in the closing stages for place money on both occasions. Last time, over an extended 1200m he came rattling home by 3,75 lengths, giving Roy the pluck to make him an entry in the Sophomore.
This time, Piere Strydom got him out smartly, and for a horse that can “heat up” a little, rode a perfecting waiting race just off the pace. When the chips were down, and the sticks came out, the “Master” simply steered him home to a comfortable going-away victory.
His next assignment? All being well, he’ll be lining up for R2 million at the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup on Saturday 5th November. Rags to riches? That’s the story of so many Ready To Run horses. For previous bargain buys that have gone onto fame and glory, CLICK HERE.
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