He didn’t know it when he phoned to congratulate us on multi-millionaire Rabada’s historic victory in the Daily News 2000 (Gr.1) on Saturday evening, but Vaughan Koster, breeder of Bela Bela, the heroine of the fillies’ equivalent, the Woolavington Stakes (Gr.1), had a connection to the families of both the glitterati.
Viewing entries in
Daily News 2000 - Vercingetorix, No Worries, Capetown Noir and Wylie Hall
(Image : Gold Circle)
“At this time of year, three-year-olds exhibit
differing rates of improvement.”
In our preview of the Daily News 2000 on Friday, we mentioned that at this time of year, three-year-olds exhibit differing rates of improvement. This couldn’t have been better illustrated than in Saturday’s South African-flavoured Group Ones, matched only by Claude Moshiywa’s stunning Comrades Marathon victory, the first “up-run” win by a local man in twenty-one years of the world’s most gruelling ultra-distance contest.
Let’s start with the oldest of the horse races. England’s Epsom Derby was being run for the 234th time, proudly carrying the label of South Africa’s Investec Bank. Rumoured unbeatable, the unbeaten Dawn Approach went out deep in the red, only to destroy his chances with a mulish display under Kevin Manning. Clearly accustomed to the speed of his earlier conquests at six to eight furlongs, he was unable to restrain himself without cover on the outside, and simply caved in as the field straightened from Tattenham Corner. The boys at Coolmore don’t need more than one invitation; within strides, a shoal of their five-horse entry swamped the lead. However, their back-marker in navy, Ruler Of The World, flashed up at the business end to run them all down from Libertarian, Galileo’s Rock and Battle Of Marengo, completing a whitewash of the world’s oldest classic by descendants of the remarkable Galileo, himself a Blue Riband hero of an earlier generation.
The unbeaten Ruler Of The World had given notice of his promise with a six length romp in Group company at Chester a month before, but needed Saturday’s victory to justify Susan Magnier’s choice of his extravagant appellation. As Coolmore boss, John Magnier quipped in the winner’s circle, “We allocate these lofty names on the basis of pedigree and what the youngsters are showing us at home; some we win and some we lose, and we’ve had a number of bad American presidents!” This one they got right. Those with an interest in breeding will be amused at the thin line between success and failure. Asked where the mare had gone in the past season, Magnier responded that she was on her way to Fastnet Rock, when he phoned trainer Aidan O’Brien to find out how the thre-year-old was doing. “He’s good”, was the response, and so his dam Love Me True, from the spectacular family of A.P. Indy, Duke Of Marmalade, Al Mufti and Lemon Drop Kid, is carrying a full sibling to the Derby winner. The rich just get richer!
Closer to home, the Woolavington Stakes (Gr.1) looked like a match in two between Bridget Oppenheimer’s Triple Tiara heroine, Cherry On The Top, and the Summerhill Sales graduate Blueridge Mountain. Recalling the vagaries of the game and the impossibility of knowing what’s going on inside a horse, the bridesmaid in all three legs of the Tiara, Michael De Broglio’sDo You Remember, trumped them all in the dying strides, just as Blueridge Mountain looked home-and-hosed halfway up the Greyville straight. To be fair, Cherry On The Top was over the top, while Blueridge Mountain’s 1200 metre prep was hardly the stuff of normality for a Group One at 2000m. But luck? Luck schmuck! “Breed the best to the best, and hope for the best”, they say. Do You Remember is a daughter of the white hot Silvano, from De Broglio’s Oaks-winning mare, Festive Occasion.
Vercingetorix’s unbeaten rally to the Vodacom Durban July remained on course when he scraped home by a nose in the Daily News 2000 (Gr.1), tossing the Breeder’s Championship up in the air, as the gap between ourselves and our nearest pursuers narrowed to nothing. The Klawervlei party however, was spoilt to a degree by No Worries’ killer burst in the closing moments of the race, where he raced from last at 75-1.
There was plenty of talk in the aftermath about Capetown Noir’s hard-knocking rattle for third, less than a head behind. If you were choosing between him and Vercingetorix on this evidence, with the extra furlong of the July, you’d have to be with Dean Kannemeyer’s horse, but all this ignores the fact that No Worries came from behind both of them, and another stride would’ve seen the wreath on his shoulders. If you subscribe to the notion that once they start to get good, there’s no knowing how good they’re going to get, “No Worries” could just live up to his name in the July.
Besides the fact that this result could be championship-threatening for Summerhill, our fellows were left lamenting our fourth bob-of-the-nose Group One second in recent times; Galant Gagnant went down by a head to Russian Sage in the same race; Smanjemanje failed by a nose to rein in Pomodoro in last year’s July, and Black Wing was “heads-up” on the Champions Cup (Gr.1) post when it should’ve been “heads-down”, in August.
As matters stand, No Worries holds no entry for the Vodacom Durban July, but “Buffalo Bill” Burnard tells us that’s what he’s in the game for. He may never get a chance like this again. If you fancy the chances of Vercingetorix and Capetown Noir, you’d have to fancy No Worries, as well. When the sticks came out, nobody dug deeper on Saturday. Every inch of the way. In the “big ones”, it’s those inches that make the difference. It’s what separates the living from the losers.
Editor’s Note: Together with the Guineas third, Corredor, No Worries is a graduate of the inaugural Emperors Palace Summer Ready To Run, staged in our School Of Excellence. His share of Saturday’s spoils puts “Buffalo” well ahead of the hefty R400,000 price tag.
DAILY NEWS 2000 (Grade 1)
Greyville, Turf, 2000m
1 June 2013
Summerhill CEOThere may have been an equal, but I cannot for the life of me, remember a more competitive renewal of the Daily News 2000 (Gr.1). There can be no better showcase for South African racing than a field boasting three Guineas winners, two Derby winners, six Group One aces, and with few exceptions, the principal adversaries in the same events who were simply unlucky enough to be born in the same year. For the Sheikh Mohammeds, the Barry Irwins and anyone else who likes to watch South African racing for potential plunder and international glory, there is no better place to fix your gaze than on Greyville this Saturday.
From a Summerhill perspective, no fewer than five of the contenders were bred and raised on the farm, headed up by the S.A. Classic (Gr.1) hero, Love Struck, the trio of hard-knocking Guineas place-finders, Corredor, Gitiano and No Worries, and the Cape Derby cheque earner, Patriotic Rebel. While there are punters who hold a brief for the argument that if you’re not already a Guineas, Derby or Classic winner in a line-up of this calibre, you’re not in the “swim”, the rate of improvement among three-year-olds is not always the same, particularly at this time of year, so maybe, it’s a case of “all can play, all can win”.
That said, you have to acknowledge the obvious claims of the first two in last month’s KZN Guineas (Gr.2), Mike de Kock’s unbeaten Vercingetorix, and Dean Kannemeyer’s drop-dead-beautiful Capetown Noir, who has looked every bit the “super horse”, only to reveal the odd chink in his armour under pressure. There are those who will tell you that whatever their claims, in Yorker, Geoff Woodruff has the best three-year-old in the land, and while he has yet to be tested in this kind of company, in his races, he’s looked every bit the demolition man going out to do a job, and let’s have no fuss.
Love Struck, Tellina and Wylie Hall carry the flag for Gauteng classic form this season, and its anybody’s guess where they rank with these three. On a line through Gothic (a narrow second to Wylie Hall in the S.A.Derby (Gr.1), and whom we know as a Summerhill Ready To Run Sales graduate, Wylie Hall seems more of a Derby prospect than a 2000 metre galloper, whilst Tellina, whose breeding suggests he should get further, has nonetheless been vulnerable beyond a mile, lurching inwards in the final furlongs of both the Classic (1800m) and the Derby (2450m). That leaves Love Struck, who’s laid his marker down wherever there’s been classic racing this season, taking in the KZN Guineas Trial, the Cape Guineas and the Politician Stakes, the Gauteng Guineas and a victory lap in the R2million S.A.Classic. Now he’s turned up at his home base for the Daily News. At best it’s an arduous ask, and he goes into Saturday’s race without the benefit of a prep, given a well-deserved rest after his earlier exertions. It’s not only the number of times a horse goes to the well, it’s where he does it; he’s been on the go since October, with a six length romp in the KZN Guineas Trial before leaving for the Cape, then having to climb to 6000 feet to claim the spoils in the Classic. There’s no questioning his gameness though; Paul Lafferty disclosed over dinner in Australia this week that the horse gave him a good five furlong sprint the other day, and while it’s anybody’s guess as to how fit he is, he came through it smiling.
This is by no means the end of the line though: Joey Ramsden speaks highly of Silvano’s Jet, Garth Puller claims that Corredor has improved again since the KZN Guineas, and with only two lengths and a bit to find on Vercingetorix and Capetown Noir on their Guineas form, if he gets the trip, the cards could be up in the air.
That’s not all. While the strength in depth is not quite the same, the Woolavington Stakes (Gr.1), the fillies equivalent, is just as epic in its own right. It brings together the hitherto unbeaten Triple Tiara heroine, Cherry On The Top, and the Majorca Stakes (Gr.1) victress, Blueridge Mountain, a clash of two of the best fillies we’ve seen in a decade. While Cherry On The Top is a homebred from Bridget Oppenheimer’s famous Mauritzfontein Stud, Blueridge Mountain is a R2million graduate of the Summerhill draft at the 2011 National Yearling Sale; the former a descendant of a time-honored local family, the latter an Argentinean-born daughter of the three-times champion sire of the United States, Giant’s Causeway. While their backgrounds couldn’t be more diverse, their paths to the Woolavington have converged as a consequence of their abiding class, and we’re looking at two fillies who could conceivably hold their own in the best company in the world. The one thing we know about Cherry On The Top is that under the tutelage of the master, Ormond Ferraris, she has already shown her mettle at the 2000 metre trip. Ramsden has nothing to prove when it comes to the handling of a top athlete, and while Blueridge Mountain’s pedigree, her physicals and her form suggest the distance should be within her reach, that question remains open. By 4:40 pm tomorrow, we’ll know the answer.
You don’t have to have a stake in either of these races to have your eyes on them: any racing fan with a modicum of respect for a good horse will be tuned into Channel 239 when the chips go down before the sun sets tomorrow evening.
(Photo : Gold Circle)
“BIG RACE DAYS : ALWAYS A CAUSE CELEBRE FOR VUMA”
Those who read the Sporting Post will undoubtedly know by now that, come the big days, there’s always a drum banging for horses that know the taste of Africa’s finest horsefeed.
Saturday’s gathering of the best three-year-olds in the land, witnessed the renewal of the Daily News 2000 (Gr.1) and the Woolavington Stakes (Gr.1), an assembly of the best colts and fillies respectively and the principal trials for the sophomore generation aiming at the biggest horse race in Africa, the Vodacom Durban July.
There was nothing really surprising about the outcome of either, as the winners represented some of the best form of the season, with Big City Life taking the colt’s version, and Zirconeum, bred across the valley from Summerhill by our neighbours, Karen and Warwick Render at Bush Hill Stud, snatching the laurels in the fillies’ version.
What wasn’t surprising though, was that the first three home in the Daily News 2000 were all sustained by Vuma (Big City Life trained by Glen Kotzen, Dan De Lago (Charles Laird) and Captain Scott (Alec Laird) while Zirconeum, the little filly with the heart of a giant, was another feather in the already substantial cap of Mike de Kock.
No doubt, knowing the protagonists, these fellows will all march on to the Greyville track on the first Saturday in July to the Vodacom jingle.