“WE’RE RAPIDLY STOCKING THE LARDER
OF OUR NEAREST RIVALS ON THE BREEDERS’ LOG…”
You’ve heard us say in the past, it always helps to go into a sale in the midst of a “big race” storm. While a record of nine consecutive Breeder titles has to be a recommendation in itself, when your sales graduates thrust themselves into the limelight on the eve of a forthcoming auction, it’s an added impetus. Racing is a competitive business, a game where the winner takes virtually all and few people remember who was second, however game and however close he came.
In a matter of a week, Rio Carnival destroyed his field in the time-honoured King’s Cup (Gr.3,) the history of which goes back to the Coronation visit in 1947; its honour roll is a matter of pride to this farm, a name etched deep on its plinth.
This Saturday, the appropriately-named Ilitshe (“the Rock”) put his hand up as a contender for the month end’s S.A. Derby (Gr.1), posting a never-say-die victory in the S.A. Derby Trial (Listed). Ilitshe is a half-brother to a European Group One ace over 2400m, so the Derby trip should be right up his alley; Sheikh Mohammed and Mike de Kock must be relishing the prospect of another feisty challenge. He was chased home within a length and a half by A.P. Arrow’s R180k sales graduate, Flight Warning, who was seen at his best in the last two furlongs of the race, coming from the worst of the draw and the back of the field. The Derby is his assignment too, and as a close relative of the Gold Cup (Gr.1) hero, Desert Links, there’ll be more than a few who’ll believe he’ll get even closer when the time comes.
Come Sunday, we were beginning to think it couldn’t get much better, as Casha had also distinguished herself with a game effort in the S.A. Oaks Trial (Listed), but Sunday dawned bright and clear, and it seemed the stars were once again in alignment. They were. Anyone watching Alesh Naidoo’sNisa’s Machine going postward for the Godolphin Barb (Gr.3), would’ve had their doubts about a debutant making his first racecourse appearance in Group company, dispelled. Yes, he’d have to be good, and he was, earning his Black type stripes with a stirring display just two lengths off his seasoned rivals. He’ll have his day.
Rio Carnival’s principals, Markus Jooste and Charles Laird, teamed up again in the Streliztia Stakes (Gr.3), the second juvenile Feature on the day, when they sent out the odds-on shot Rich Girl. We owned this filly till she was two, but we’ve got wages to pay at Summerhill, and we had to let her go with long teeth at theEmperors Palace Ready To Run Salein November. There’d been big raps around Rich Girl all week, and in the wake of her demolition job here, she’s looking like “gold dust”. Her schedule includes a possible shot at the S.A. Fillies Nursery (Gr.2) on Champions Day in Jo’burg, and a definite entry in the Allan Robertson Fillies Championship (Gr.1) at Scottsville during May’s Festival Of Speed. The last daughter of Rock Of Gibraltar sold at public auction in this country, she’s a rare commodity now, even in a rich man’s world. With Blueridge Mountain, Hollywoodboulevard and now Rich Girl in their back pockets, we’re rapidly stocking the larder of our nearest rivals on the Breeders’ log, Klawervlei on their way to relieving us of the title! And to think Sheikh Mohammed took Igugu and Fisanioff us, too!
You know the adage: the rich get richer. And the poor… (just go to work every day!)