Horses stir powerful emotions in human beings and many have their “heart horse”, that one that just pings and captures the human heart. For Ethanicity Researchs Gregg Clarke, that horse is the Clifton Stud bred Flag Man.

Despite Flag Man’s impressive victory at Hollywoodbets Greyville on May 11th, he was not on most tipster’s short-list in his first Grade 1 outing a mere 2 weeks later at equal weights running his furthest trip. This all changed dramatically last Saturday in the G1 Daily News 2000 at Hollywoodbets Greyville, when he pushed the short favourite Green With Envy to the absolute wire almost causing a major upset in the process. His run humbled some commentators and has resulted in his odds shortening to the extent that he is now amongst the favourites for the 2024 Hollywoodbets Durban July on July 6th.

It has been a rapid rise for the son of Flying The Flag x Irresistable Chris (Mark Of Esteem) who now stands on the cusp of a chance to etch his name into the history books for his sire, dam, trainer father-son duo Gareth & Gavin Van Zyl, owners Messrs Nestadt-Barnard-Maclean-Player and the province of Kwazulu-Natal who has not celebrated a KZN Bred & Trained Winner for a very long time.

It is however a particularly special moment for his breeders Jenny & Peter Blyth at Clifton Stud who have already, perhaps prophetically, savoured July victory with another “Flag” horse, Classic Flag in 1998 and a first opportunity for their seasoned Stud Manager Christine Quinn who fondly remembers the sweet little chestnut with his Daddy’s looks.

ER’s Gregg Clarke is extremely fond of the bloodline quality of the sire Flying The Flag and confesses to having been “irretrievably hooked” on the cross with the now deceased broodmare when he studied the pedigree after first meeting Flag Man as a weanling. He fondly refers to Flag Man as “KZN’s “Charles Dickens” when he wrote on the ETHANICITY Research Facebook on Sunday, 26 May.

Could July 6th be a historic day for KZN, the connections and his doting believer?

With Africa’s greatest race fast approaching, here is a brain-teaser for you: Who was the last KZN Bred and Trained Durban July winner?

Pictures of Flag Man courtesy of Ethanicity Research.


Clifton StudEthanicity ResearchGold Circle

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