How a couple of guys from down the block invested in a filly that hates to lose and is on the brink of winning them a cool couple of million is becoming one of the sport stories of the year.
CTS-offered Takingthepeace, at R240,000 a small buy by racing’s standards for new owners Murray Makepeace and Michael Shea in partnership with Mike de Kock, took Saturday’s Gr1 Wilgerbosdrift SA Classic over 1800m at Turffontein to secure the second leg of the 2018 Triple Tiara and put herself in line for turf immortality and a R1-million bonus.
Football fans said there was no way in the world Leicester City could ever win the English Premier League when the betting opened in 2016 and they were quoted at 5000-1. They won it.
Racing fans like to say lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same spot. On Saturday it did as Takingthepeace won the Classic with a run that was an almost exact replay of her Gauteng Guineas win four weeks ago.
With her ability now 100% beyond doubt, there won’t be anymore lightning stories before Takingthepeace goes to post for the Gr1 SA Oaks over 2450m on Saturday, 5 May.
The one question that does remain is, will she stay the extra 650m? Mike and Mathew de Kock agreed on Sunday: “On the way she runs, on the way she won the Classic, she should see out the extra.” On pedigree, there is plenty of hope too. While Takingthepeace’s sire Visionaire has so far produced predominantly sprinter-milers, the filly’s damline is where the key lies.
Takingthepeace’s dam, Lisa Ann, won up to 1450m but was also Gr3-placed over 1800m. Damsire Rambo Dancer himself won a Gr1 over 2400m and his full-sister won the English Oaks. While he produced many top stayers including Pick 6, Bianconi, Coastal Waltz and Major Hero, Rambo Dancer as a broodmare sire significantly produced the Gr1 Derby and Gr2 Gold Vase winner Seal, who stayed all day (though he was by the stout Silvano).
In the end, only the race will show, but Makepeace and Shea will be counting the days to 5 May, not without a good degree of confidence. Mathew de Kock, who was understandably red-eyed on Sunday morning, chirped: “Mike Shea lifted Murray Makepeace a meter off the ground when they won the Classic and on Saturday he actually wrestled him to the ground! I wonder what they’ll do if she wins the Oaks?”
Young Shea was seen rolling around the winner’s enclosure with his shirt out and the much bigger Makepeace pinned in his grip – a scene again much enjoyed by racing fans who love the sheer and unbridled joy only this great sport can deliver. Let us not forget Callan Murray, who is coming of age as a rider and proving that he has the “X-factor” that Mike de Kock attributed to him last year. He rode a finely judged race on Takingthepeace – a winner exactly on the line and only there – and that calls for special skills.
“Thanks to the team for a superb effort. I was just a little worried coming into the straight (15 lengths adrift), but she got there!” So close was the finish that Colin Gordon and Peter White, the De Kock stable’s neighbours on the suite-level at Turffontein, thought they’d won it with Green Top. Stiff for Colin and Peter, two great supporters of the game, but their big day will come, too.
Takingthepeace was bred by Mick Goss at Summerhill Stud, who moved Visionaire to Pieter Graaff’s Lammerskraal Stud in April 2016 and said at the time: “Nothing would please us more than to see Visionaire go on to bigger and better things in the years ahead. Besides his current juveniles, he still has three crops to come from Summerhill and KwaZulu-Natal.”
The stallion has gone on, indeed, with a KwaZulu-Natal broodmare raising the bar. With Takingthepeace as his new flagbearer, Lammerskraal with their host of black-type producers will be hoping to add an unexpected new dimension to his portfolio.