From small numbers in our province, KZN had a great Summer Cup race day with a Gr2 Merchants win, followed up by several places in the feature races of the day including a very close second in the Gr2 Dingaans.
Trainer Johan Janse van Vuuren picked up his maiden Gr2 Merchants success courtesy of the Visionaire gelding, The Thinker. Summerhill Stud are doing KZN proud once again on the seasonal stats, as the current leading breeders of South Africa. Summerhill are having enormous success in particular with the progeny of Await The Dawn leading the way. KZN-bred Big Bear is currently the top earning racehorse of the season in South Africa.
The lightly raced The Thinker showed that he could be a sprinter to follow this season when he stormed through from some lengths off the speed for an impressive victory.
The only winner on the multiple feature programme in the SA champion owner silks of the Mayfair Speculators, The Thinker rewarded those that had seen his hard luck run when under a length off Graduation Day in the Golden Loom Handicap at his last outing.
With Naafer and Romi’s Boy going quickly early on, Donovan Mansour had The Thinker nearer last early on but gradually built him up into contention.
At the 300m marker, Naafer galloping all alone down the inside looked like he could be a serious challenger, but The Thinker had them all ice cold and went on to score by 1,10 lengths over the game 3yo Naafer in second.
Trainer Johan Janse van Vuuren was a relieved man. “After Square The Circle was beaten earlier and Kilauea ran such a bad race in the Magnolia, I was worried. I knew The Thinker would be the watershed – he was the horse putting up good work at home. Thankfully he produced that on the track!”
Bred by Summerhill Stud, The Thinker is a four year old son of Gr1 King’s Bishop Stakes winner Visionaire (Grand Slam) out of the three-time winner Radiant Lass by Northern Guest.
A R180 0000 CTS Johannesburg Ready To Run Sale graduate, The Thinker has won five races with a place from 11 starts and stakes of R590 050.
Bush Hill Stud-bred son of Curved Ball, Seerite, came close to downing Monks Hood in the Gr2 Dingaans. Seerite has won and placed from just two starts and almost emulated his sire Curved Ball’s win in the Gr2 Dingaans. Out of Damascus Charmer by Damascus Gate, Seerite is owned by Mr K Wilson and trained by Robbie Sage. He challenged Monks Hood in a flying finish to miss it by a head.
Scott Bros featured on the big day with the full sister to Gr1 winner and Equus Champion Sprinter Talktothestars (the latter finishing fifth in the Gr2 Merchants – a race he had won previously), saw Lady Starlett place third in the Gr3 Magnolia Handicap less than two lengths off the grey winner.
Racing in the familiar orange and white silks and blinkers of Talktothestars owner and trainer Mr Coenie De Beer, the filly with a big heart is a 4-time winner. She is by Overlord out of Tellittothestars, bred by Scott Bros.
Next up for Scott Bros saw the son of Mogok, Pagoda, gallop to a gallant fourth place in the Gr1 Sansui Summer Cup. Trained by Geoff Woodruff and bred by Varsfontein Stud from the former resident broodmare of Scott Bros, Pagoda finished just over two lengths off the winner.
A full brother to Gr1 Gold Cup winner Wild One, Save The Rhino by Mogok finished third in the marathon 3200m Racing Association Listed behind Fortissima. Save The Rhino is trained by Ormond Ferraris and placed under Keagan De Melo.
Paul Peter’s brave filly Fort Ember, a Gr2 winning grand daughter of Kahal, finished second in the Gr1 Sansui Summer Cup. Kahal has had Group success as a broodmare sire and recently produced a Gr3 winner in Australia. We look forward to seeing his Frankel grand daughter debut for owner Shadwell Stud and trainer Mike De Kock.
Congratulations to all concerned.