Kahal (John Lewis)
If ever a young up-and-coming stallion needed anything less, it would be the loss of his best runner, cut down in the prime of his career. Such a blow confronted our man, KAHAL, recently when he lost his most accomplished son, EMPEROR NAPOLEON, almost bound to have been the opening favourite for the country’s richest race, the R3,5 million Gomma Gomma Challenge, due to be run this coming weekend.
But like the good man he is, KAHAL’s not about to take this lying down. On her last start, (and her first in several months) his Champion daughter BOLD ELLINORE, put up a “bold” display, as her name demands, in the Empress Club Stakes (Gr1), cruising to the front with the entire field off the bit, and going down in the end only because of her lack of condition.
As if giving notice that he wasn’t going to let his father’s setback go unavenged, DESERT LINKS gave notice of his wellbeing for the Gomma Gomma with a 3.5 length victory in Cape Town. The same weekend, TAP TAP bolted away from a competitive bunch at Randjiesfontein, prompting Alec Laird to proclaim him a Stakes winner-in-waiting.
And then this week was a revelation. At Clairwood, GALANT GAGNANT at last fired the shots he’s been telling Mike de Kock he’s capable of, prompting jockey Anthony Delpech to proclaim him “very close” already to IMBONGI. And as the events of this past weekend revealed, that’s putting him in the league of the nation’s best three-year-old miler.
Then, just to show he’s capable of getting a couple of proper juveniles, too, he’s already had one on the Rand (Resounding Spirit) run second to the “untouchable” Merlene de Lago at Grade Three level, and in Nightstalker and Noble Heir, he has another pair making their first appearances at this level in the Strelitzia Stakes (Gr3) on Wednesday.
But perhaps as promising as any of them is SMANGALISO, who blew away a respectable field at the Guineas meeting at Greyville on Saturday. In the process, she became the first juvenile to win in open company this season, and she made a proper “matza” of it, running away by two lengths. That’ll be good enough to qualify her for the R1 million plus Emperor’s Palace Ready To Run Cup on 2nd November, a mouth-watering prospect for a R90 000 purchase just 5 months ago.
Good on ‘yer, Baron and Baroness Bergsma, Michel Nairac (at last he’s found the secret to a good horse!) and Mike Miller, who picked her.