Three of our KZN resident sires flew the flag high for our small province with three winners from the four Gr1 races on the day – two of them from from sires Brave Tin Soldier and Toreador, and the other from broodmare sire Spectrum with Sand And Sea.
Not only at Scottsville did we make an impression – two of trainer Greg Ennion’s charges had success, with Crusade producing his fourth winner at Kenilworth whilst Just As Well’s handsome son Zodiac Jack placed in the Gr3 Cape Of Good Hope Nursery Stakes, just a length off the winner.
Jockey Gunther Wrogemann might well have been singing “Brave Mary keep on rolling” when the Brave Tin Soldier filly burst away from the opposition to win the R750 000, Grade 1 Allan Robertson Championship at Scottsville on Saturday.
Carrying the action name given to the American Indian activist Mary Brave Bird in the 70’s, and costing a mere R40 000, Brave Mary stunned the large crowd at Scottsville and, even more so, the fancied runners Call To Account, Green Plains and Neptune’s Rain when she tore away to post a time of 68.3 secs, a fraction faster than the smart Dennis Drier-trained Twice Over colt Sand And Sea (and grandson of Spectrum), that impressively won the Gr1 Tsogo Sun Medallion.
Trainer Paul Matchett did not appear that surprised in the interview after Brave Mary, a daughter of the Rich Man’s Gold mare Mary Lou that he had trained to win six races, skated clear of the field. A former Zimbabwean top trainer and for years very competitive on the Highveld, Paul obviously had a good idea of what he had in his care to travel from Gauteng to Scottsville for just one runner on the day.
That confidence will have come from the filly’s last race over 1 000m at the Vaal where she bolted away from the maiden field to win by 6.5 lengths in the cracking time for a juvenile of 56.79 secs. Saturday’s performance will have strengthened his belief in her talent and she looks a very exciting prospect for the future. Brave Mary was passed through the 2016 National Yearling Sales ring as unsold; and offered at the CTS Ready To Run Sale later that year under Summerhill’s banner for Rupert Plersch, where she sold for just R40 000 to Greenstreet Bloodstock’s Justin Vermaak. Thinking it may be difficult to syndicate her – he sold her on to Paul Matchett.
This is the second Gr1 winner for sire Brave Tin Soldier and his third Gr1 victory to date – after Rabada won the Gr1 Premiers Champions Stakes and the Gr1 Daily News 2000. Brave Tin Soldier currently sits on an impressive winners to runners percentage of 36%.
Following up in the R750 000, Grade 1 Tsogo Sun Medallion, Sand And Sea was awesomely impressive in pulverising a field that included some very exciting young colts and geldings to give KZN-based Dennis Drier his seventh victory in the prestigious race and his sixth in eight years. Strongly fancied to beat the Mike de Kock-trained favourite Naafer, his supporter’s hearts will have dropped when he virtually walked out of the pens at the start and trailed the field in the early stages.
But when Anton Marcus said giddy up boy the colt quickened and before long it was race over as he skipped clear to win by 2.25 lengths relieving what was no doubt a few seconds of tension for his conditioner. Spectrum is a leading broodmare sire internationally and a sire of sires – his notable international Gr1 winners as a broodmare sire include Up, her half-brother and successful sire Dutch Art as well as Moonlight Cloud, who came close to demolishing Black Caviar’s squeaky clean record in her only British start.
For Sean Tarry there were big smiles when the Toreador gelding Bull Valley, that he had taken over from retired trainer Dom Zaki a year ago, demolished a strong sprinting field to win the top race of the day, the R1-million, Grade 1 Tsogo Sun Sprint, giving Tarry a Grade 1 double for the day and pushing his stake earnings in the season to a record high which cemented his place at the top of the trainer log.
Steered to victory by champion jockey S’Manga Khumalo, he was tucked four lengths off the leaders early on, Bull Valley defied his 15 draw to score an emphatic win in one of South Africa’s top sprints.
Asked for his effort with 500m left to run, Bull Valley showed a breathtaking turn of foot to tear into the lead. From there, the gelding went on to post a one and a half length win over former Merchants winner Search Party, with Barbosa filling the third sport, just ahead of former Gr1 Betting World Cape Flying Championship winner Gulf Storm.
Owned by PCS (Pty) Ltd and Messrs Blank, Nassif, Nichas and Sarkis, Bull Valley was a R180 000 purchase from the 2014 National Yearling Sale.
South Africa’s latest equine millionaire, Bull Valley’s win on Saturday pushed his tally to five victories from just nine outings, with his previous wins including a score in the 2016 Gr3 Man O’War Sprint.
Toreador is on 30% winners to runners percentage. Whilst Bull Valley is bred by Ambiance Stud in the Cape, Bull Valley’s sire stands at Bush Hill Stud and has produced the likes of Lazer Star, Rikitikitana, Hong Kong export Misty Birnam, Matador Man and plenty more in recent times.
Reverting back to Kenilworth’s Saturday results, congratulations to Jenny and Peter Blyth who bred the fourth winner for sire Crusade, Weekend Warrior.
The juvenile gelding is out of Restructure mare Love Leah, the dam of Spectrum’ Gr3 winning son The Plunderer. Owned in partnership by Mr O Schoeman and Braam Van Huyssteen (the same owner-trainer combination own Zodiac Jack), the Greg Ennion trained horse has placed from his three previous starts.
Zodiac Jack, the well-bred son of Just As Well gave his sire more Black Type after finishing just over a length in the Gr3 feature on the day. Out of 10-time winning mare Pisces Star by Kahal, Zodiac Jack has won and placed five times from his six starts – his biggest margin by six lengths going away to break his maiden.
The colt is bred by Roski Stud, and sold for just R100 000 at the 2016 National Yearling Sale. He has earned back his sales price with extra to date. The under estimated Just As Well is still sitting on an impressive winners to runners percentage of 44% for the season.
With big results from small numbers, it pays to buy KZN-bred!