As gratifying as Sunday’s five big winners and five seconds at KwaZulu-Natal Breeding’s biggest day might have been, the achievement only serves to remind us of the NHA’s bewildering decision to exclude all stakes garnered through meetings of this sort from consideration for the title; since this practice applies nowhere else in the world, it could justifiably be aligned as racing’s equivalent of Thursday’s equally-puzzling outcome to Britain’s future membership of the European Union.
With that off my chest, the KZN Breeders deserve a hearty pat on the back for their enterprise not only in the concept itself, but just as much for the marketing and the publicity they put into promoting it. In the end, it was a red letter occasion for followers of the farm and its products, with no fewer than 50% of the races falling to graduates of our sales consignments, while another four kept the flag flying and the scoreboard ticking earlier in the week in Jo’burg and at Scottsville.
1st – No Worries for Team G Racing in the KZN Breeders’ Million Mile
1st – Witchcraft now two-in-a-row for Sean Tarry
1st – Lala for Doug Campbell
1st – Count Von Count for Tony Rivalland
1st – Hyaku for Sean Tarry
2nd – Rabada for Michael Azzie in the KZN Breeders’ Million Mile
2nd – Thirtytwo Squadron for Charles Laird
2nd – Duke Nukem for Alexander Racing
2nd – Isingamoya for Mark Dixon
2nd – Yankeedoodledandy for Charles Laird
While there’ll be reams written in the course of the next couple of days ahead of Africa’s biggest sporting event at Greyville on Saturday, it’s comforting to know that we have a hand in all four of the Group Ones on July Day with Rabada in the “big one” (hard on the heels of his lung-busting, weight-carrying second in the Million Mile on Sunday), Guineas victrix Heaps Of Fun and Intergalactic in the Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes (event of the night in our view), the incalculable potential of Unagi in the Golden Horseshoe and the blossoming verve of Visuality in the Golden Slipper.
That Rabada is quoted at the generous odds of 20/1 for the July, is a welcome surprise to all of us, given that there’s nothing between him and second-favourite, Black Arthur on form, and quite a lump separating him from a trio of others quoted above him despite their being among his victims in the Daily News 2000 (course and “almost” distance repeated). Remembering that at weight-for-age, he was 3.5kgs out at the scales with his Summerhill colleague and Sunday’s vanquisher, No Worries (a doughty old Group One warrior in his own right) for a length-and-a-half beating, and that Anton Marcus gave Rabada a sympathetic ride supposedly with a view to sparing something for Saturday, you’d have to think that the only reason for the disparity in the betting is a public perception that only six days between runs is too much to expect of a young three-year-old. They forget, of course, where he was brought up!
Other news is that on the back of his scintillating second victory in the “Million Mile”, No Worries (now verging on R3million in earnings) has been scratched from Saturday’s Gold Vase in favour of a crack at Gold Cup day’s Champion’s Cup (Gr.1), where he will be favourably in at the weights. There are no guarantees in this game, we all know, but for as long as you have a line in the water, there’s always the prospect of a late harvest.