Click above to watch Love Struck winning the KZN Betting World Guineas Trial (Listed)…
(Image : Gold Circle - Footage : Tellytrack)
“It was a bittersweet day for Summerhill…”
For a country which has produced the winners of nineteen of the last twenty Jockey’s championships in Hong Kong, one of the world’s most sought-after titles, our local boys were somewhat outpointed over the two days of the Jockey’s International this past weekend. It’s true that the Jo’burg test was rather inconclusive, the rain putting an end to it with three races to run, but at Clairwood Sunday, they “did” us in a complete card. It has to be said, the lead did change hands several times, and it looked like we were in with a squeak at one point, but the “Internationals” were just too good for us at the death. While Seamus Heffernan and Richard Hughes supplied the knock-out blow in the last, the fellow that stole the hearts of racing fans in both Johannesburg and Durban, was the Brazilian, Joao Moreira (“Joey”), who is already so far ahead in the Singapore Jockeys Championship, he could afford to take not only this week out of his schedule, but there are whispers he might even ride in the Sansui Summer Cup (Gr.1) at the end of the month.
It was a bittersweet day for Summerhill. As dyed-in-the-wool patriots, we dearly wanted the South Africans to win, yet the nail in the coffin came in the last event courtesy of a Summerhill exacta, Maluti grabbing the laurels for Seamus Hefferan (Ireland) and Karen Anthony, and a gallant Gida chasing him home under a great ride from Piere Strydom.
The “sweetness” came from two other sources. The portents looked good when Keith Young’sFlyFirstClass skated home unchallenged by a growing seven lengths on just his third racecourse performance, following narrow defeats at the hands of two Group performers, Shimmer And Shine and Gitiano. This was something of a fairytale for a horse who’d sheared a good bit of his foot off as a yearling, and had to miss his assignments at both the National Yearling Sale and the Ready To Run. Miracles do happen (especially if you work at them,) and the Liebenberg/Booysen duo performed one here to make him saleable for the maiden Summer version of the Ready To Run in the “School” at Summerhill. Keith and Pauline Young and trainer Craig Eudey had the courage to pick him half ready, and on Sunday he repaid their faith in the most emphatic fashion.
FlyFirstClass joins the Feature race winners Sithela and Rooi Nooi (both divisional winners of the Sophomore Stakes) together with recent six length winner Golden Dynasty and the impressive Chili Pepper, No Worries and Maluti among graduates of the Emperors Palace Summer Ready To Run Sale.
But the “big fish” for Summerhill on the day was the sparkling performance of the top weight Love Struck, in the KZN Guineas Trial (Listed). He was conceding 2kgs to the best in the province following a stunning six length romp on Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup weekend, yet when Anton Marcus pressed the button here, he quickly put 1.75 lengths between himself and a talented lineup. Next stop the Cape of Good Hope Guineas (Gr.1), on the weekend before Christmas. Congratulations to owners Alesh Naidoo and Anthony Govender, we’re sure that trainer Paul Lafferty will be enjoying a Castle with Santa, all going well. That’ll be another step up as he takes on the pride of the nation, but he’s already shown his class in Group One company, and he looks an improving type with the capacity to handle whatever they throw at him.