Russian Sage beaten by Imbongi in Guineas
(Gold Circle)

Team Valor International has put together an international partnership to campaign Gr1 Cape of Good Hope Derby winner Russian Sage (SAf) (Jallad-Blue Sage {SAf}, by Badger Land), stable principal Barry Irwin announced yesterday.

Irwin negotiated the purchase of the South African star directly with the Estate of John Newsome, who raced with his wife Karen as the successful Fieldspring Racing. Although purchased for export to Europe and an international campaign, the three-year-old will make two final starts in his homeland. Justin Snaith will train him for a run in this weekend’s Gr1 Daily News 2000, which will be his second race off a layoff and serve as his final prep for the July 5 renewal of the Gr1 Durban July.

Justin Snaith’s successor in Europe has yet to be selected. “We wanted to buy half of Jay Peg (SAf) [eventual Gr2 Jebel Hatta Stakes runner-up] and Sun Classique (Aus) [Gr1 Dubai Sheema Classic heroine] last year to race in Dubai with their owners,” said Barry Irwin.”But for one reason or another we were unable to come to a meeting of the minds. So this year we bought 100 percent of the colt that we reckon is the most likely South African-based runner with a chance to make a similar impression in Dubai.”

Barry Irwin, whose Captain’s Lover won the Gr1 Cape Fillies Guineas this season with Justin Snaith at the helm, said he has had his eye on Russian Sage for quite some time. “I am glad the transaction to land him for Team Valor has come to fruition,” Irwin noted. “We think he will improve with age. Since bucking his shins in the Matchem Stakes, he has been first four times and second twice in his six starts. He is consistent and courageous.”

Among those in the partnership that will campaign the colt are National Horse Racing Authority Chairman Larry Nestadt, in whose royal blue colours the colt will contest the Durban July; and Gary Barber, the South African-born, Los Angeles-based movie producer of “Seabiscuit” fame.



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