King’s Temptress (left) and Soft Falling Rain (right)
(Image : Sporting Post / Mike de Kock Racing)
THE COLTS’ AND FILLIES’ NURSERIES
We said Monday we’d pen another story about the two nurseries run at Turffontein on Saturday. We couldn’t resist : it was the democracy of the turf at its best.
Let us remind you. The Colt’s Nursery (Gr1) was taken in facile style by Soft Falling Rain, the property of the Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. He cost nigh on half a million bucks, and Mike de Kock regards him highly enough to have him on the plane for England, alongside Igugu.
The Fillies’ Nursery, by contrast, fell to a determined rush from an unraced filly trained by an unknown trainer by a supposedly unproven (or should we say “failed”) stallion, and it happened at the expense of a hitherto unbeaten filly belonging to a member of our local “royalty”.
The winner, King’s Temptress, is trained in Kimberley, a one-horse Kalahari town that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for diamonds. Racing is still conducted gymkhana-style on an arid sand track much as it was in the mid 1800s when Cecil John Rhodes and Barney Barnato were still just diggers, like everyone else at the “Big Hole”.
Corrie Lensley, the filly’s trainer, is a part-time operator whose background is in sheep farming and shearing. And that’s the part that tickles us. In Kimberley, a shearer has always been thought as good as a Sheikh. Better really, because a Sheikh is not much use if your merinos need dagging.
In Kimberley a couple of years back, the winning owner of the Flamingo Park Cup was invited by the stewards to the committee lounge for a drink. Thanks, he said, but he had to rush home to milk the cows.
One of the cherished pieces of Kimberley’s folklore is that any battler can win a Flamingo Park Cup. And a few have, though fewer than mythology allows. The democracy of the Cup has given it a rare flavour. It doesn’t go like this in many places in the world.
Editors Note :
King’s Temptress was bred by the Waterford Stud in Queenstown, one of the last remnants of what was once a thriving breeding industry in that area. The late Richard Sahd and his brother Bennie, established the stud, and it’s to the credit of Ben and Richard’s widow, Toy, that they’ve stuck it out against so many odds. Truth is, Queenstown is horse country, and this is not the end: it is the end of the beginning.