Click above to watch Vangelis in the Memorial Mile (Listed)
(Footage : Tellytrack)
2009 MEMORIAL MILE (L)
Regular followers of these pages will be familier with the tale of Vangelis; the strapping 6-year-old Kahal colt out of the Northern Guest mare, Northern Singer, who at just two months of age revealed a distinct lameness in his shoulder which he carried right through his yearling year.
Bred on the same lines as Emperor Napoleon (the deadly cross of Kahal on a Northern Guest mare), Vangelis would undoubtedly have been one of our top commercial prospects of his year at the sales, but he was scratched from all his engagements, including the later Ready To Run Sale, while we were contemplating his future.
The answer came in the form of a folklore character here at Summerhill, Michael Booysen, a Zulu gent who was abandoned on the farm at the age of six or seven, who suggested that we treat Vangelis’ condition as a “mechanical” lameness, and that we “ride” him through it. In the end, his advice was prophetic, and within two months of us starting with the horse, he began to move with only a hint of lameness.
That he still carries this condition to a small degree, is as much a testimony to his courage and will to race, as it is to Michael’s instincts as a horseman.
On Friday at Arlington, we again witnessed this profound courage as Vangelis took a fighting victory in the R125 000 Memorial Mile (Listed) under jockey Warren Kennedy for trainer Gavin Smith.
Going into the race, Surfin’ USA topped the betting boards in his bid for a third successive feature win, with Vangelis seriously backed to challenge.
Breaking quickly, Hurricane Silver went into an early lead and turned for home with a two-length advantage over Mazar-E-Sharif and West Coast Gold, while Vangelis was held up on their heels and Surfin’ USA outpaced at the rear, seven lengths off the speed.
In the final dash to the line, Hurricane Silver quickly shrugged off Mazar-E-Sharif and West Coast Gold, but Vangelis fought through fully extended to nab Hurricane Silver by a neck, with fellow Summerhill-bred, Ecole Militaire, powering home for third.
Congratulations must go to our old mate Robert Muir, who five years ago happened to be staying at Hartford House on one of his frequent visits from the United States. Robert caught sight of Vangelis on an early morning exercise session and promtly purchased a half share from the late Colly Fram.
With this victory, Vangelis takes his career statistics to 10 wins and 10 places from 24 starts, proving that patience really does pay.