Wylie Hall - President's Champions Challenge (Grade 1)

Wylie Hall, “heartbreak horse” of the 2014 Vodacom Durban July, showed just what a classy performer he is as he stormed to victory in the R2-million President’s Champions Challenge at Turffontein on Saturday.
— TAB News

Denied victory in the country's premier race in a hotly debated demotion, the Weiho Marwing-trained son of Redoute's Choice, Wylie Hall, made sure there were no arguments in this Grade 1 contest.

Powerfully ridden by Bernard Fayd'Herbe in Michael Leaf's silks, Wylie Hall (11-2) easily held off the 8-10 favourite Majmu – the wonder three-year-old filly from the Mike de Kock stable.

Gavin van Zyl's 33-1 outsider No Worries, who had been prominent throughout, stayed on well in third. Halve The Deficit was fourth, 3.25 lengths off the winner.

Triple Crown winner Louis The King (7-1), a favourite with the Turffontein crowd, once again ran very disappointingly – hitting the front with 500m to run but then fading badly to finish stone last. It was a reprise of his effort in the Horse Chestnut last month and something a surely amiss.

De Kock and jockey Anthony Delpech would have been greatly disappointed that Majmu couldn't quite pull it off against a classy colt, but the three-year-old did manage to beat the remainder of the line-up of top-class experienced males and still has glittering prospects.

Delpech otherwise had a fabulous day, booting home four winners – Rushmore River in Race 1 for trainer Joe Soma; Entisaar in the Grade 2 Fillies Nursery for De Kock; Alboran Sea in the Grade 1 Computaform Sprint; and Pine Princess in the Grade 1 SA Oaks for De Kock.

And De Kock went home carrying a heavy satchel of prize money for his patrons: two wins, two seconds and a fourth in Grade 1 races, and a Grade 2 victory.

Fellow Randjesfontein conditioner Sean Tarry didn't do shabbily either, collecting enough prize money to virtually ensure he will be South Africa's new champion trainer come August.

His game filly Siren's Call was denied the Triple Tiara by a whisker, but he was compensated with victory in the Grade 1 SA Derby with Legal Eagle and in the Grade 2 Camellia Stakes with Bichette.

Another who had a day to remember was apprentice jockey Craig Zackey, who landed a Grade 1 in the SA Nursery with Arabian Beat and a Grade 2 in the Gold Bowl with J's Outsider.


Alboran Sea - Computaform Sprint (Grade 1)


Alboran Sea can justifiably be called the "best sprinter in the land" after flashing to victory in the R1-million Computaform Sprint at Turffontein on Saturday.

The Australian-bred filly, owned by Michael Javett and Mary Slack and trained by De Kock, made it two Grade 1 titles in a row, having nailed the equally prestigious Cape Flying Championship earlier in the year.

A high-class line-up for Joburg's top sprint promised a thrilling finish, and it was indeed an exciting affair – though there were only two combatants in it over the final 250m. And it was an all-girl affair, with the gutsy Carry On Alice pushing the winner all the way.

It was Delpech's third victory in the Computaform – after National Currency and Shea Shea – and the Durban dynamo said afterwards he'd felt confident of landing his hat-trick throughout the 1000m dash.

"She was always going very well. She's a terrific filly. I got a little concerned when Carry On Alice showed some cheek but I had a lot of horse and, once I got into her, she had what was needed," said Delpech.

De Kock revealed that this was his very first Computaform victory – something of a surprise for a man with the biggest trophy cabinet in history.

"It's fantastic to train a filly like this. We could see a few weeks ago that our horses were really starting to turn," said De Kock.

As the charge ensued up Turf Club Road, Trip Tease (15-2) was the first to get into stride and inch ahead from No 3 stall. But there wasn't much to choose between the rest of the speedy field for a first few hundred meters.

From gate 13, Delpech took the shortest route home on Alboran Sea (6-1), sticking to the outside rail and nosing into the lead some 300m out. She and Carry On Alice (8-1) eyeballed each other as they kicked clear of their rivals. Alboran Sea eventually muscled her way to victory by 0.70 lengths.

The 16-10 favourite Captain Of All, trained by Dennis Drier in KwaZulu-Natal and ridden by Sean Cormack, managed to grab the third cheque, four lengths back. Trip Tease was fourth.

Apprentice Craig Zackey couldn't contain his delight when he landed a Grade 1 winner in the SA Nursery, standing in the irons and waving to the big crowd. He had Arabian Beat (16-1) in the front rank of the charging juveniles throughout the 1160m contest before driving the Dominic Zaki-trained colt away inside the final 200m.

Shaama, from the De Kock stable and the lone filly in the race, was the only rival who managed a fight in the closing stages, but she went down by a length under Anthony Delpech.

A distant third (5.60 lengths off the winner) was 33-1 shot Mystical Twilight, and fourth was 7-2 favourite Redcarpet Captain.

Delpech came out tops a little earlier in the day in the Fillies Nursery (Grade 2), with De Kock charge Entisaar (18-10) strolling to a 2.50-length win over Frosted Honey (15-2), trained by Mike Azzie and ridden by Gavin Lerena.

Third was the 16-10 favourite Varumba from the Vaughan Marshall yard and fourth the 22-1 outsider Sapsan, trained by David Nieuwenhuizen.

Aussie-bred Entisaar has won two out of three and been placed second in her other run. All these outings have been in features and she has already amassed R383,750 in prize money and further boosted the already lofty reputation of her sire More Than Ready.

Extracts from Tab News / JC Photos (p)