Two KZN-breds impressed outside of South Africa’s borders – the first being Traffic Guard’s son Free Wheeler who won the Ngong Kenya Derby, whilst Curved Ball’s Zimbabwean champ Knuckleball, won yesterdays Zimbabwe Derby Listed.
Both races in Kenya and Zimbabwe respectively, were over a distance of 2400m.
Bred by Clifton Stud, Knuckleball has now won four races of six – never being out of the money, finishing second on two other occasions. In addition to yesterday’s victory in the Zimbabwe Derby, he has won the Gr3 Zimbabwe 2000, the Guineas Trial, and second to Butchie Boy in the Zimbabwe Guineas. Knuckleball, out of Bit Of Bizet, was not sold at the 2016 KZN Yearling Sale.
Kenya Derby winner, Free Wheeler, sold for R80 000 at the 2015 KZN Yearling Sale. [pictured above left]
Trained by Dr. Patsy Sombe, the Summer Ready To Run Sale graduate Free Wheeler led a top four sweep for the trainer, who entered six fillies in the race. This is the first time ever in the history of Kenya Derby for one trainer to scoop all the first four places.
Free Wheeler stayed close to he leading light Clothes Horse in the opening 400m before taking a length’s advantage. Competition between the two horses, Free Wheeler jockeyed by South African Francois Herholdt and Clothes Horse ridden by Richard Kibet, was neck and neck till the last turn.
At the final turn, Herholdt set Free Wheeler down, widen the gap as Kibet sought to have Clothes Horse close in but instead the former opened the distance to two and a quarter lengths at the finish line. Free Wheeler covered the 2,400m circuit in 2:42.1 minutes.
Pharaoh’s Advocate by James Muhindi came in third – four and a half lengths – behind Clothes Horse. White Dragon closed the top four places sweep by fillies trained by Karen-based Sercombe.
Oliver Mutua-trained Bulawayo ridden by Paul Kiarie closed the top five, crossing the finish line two and a half lengths behind White Dragon. Navy Seal ridden by Lance Pagel was sixth, Winter Comet by Patrick Mungai seventh and Omaha Beach came eighth.
“We had a perfect trip and when I needed, she was game. I was really happy with her. He’s got huge stride which quickened for me at the top of the lane,” said Herholdt. “When we took the lead, she kept kicking when Kibet aboard Clothes Horse came to me. Huge effort by the whole stable. It was great, everything worked out perfectly,” added the South African.
Congratulations to, Mr V. Gappah, Mr R.H.S and Mrs P. Beattie, and Mr D.H. and Mrs J.L. Cockedge, the owners of Knuckleball who ran a great race at Borrowdale Park on Sunday afternoon, as expected.
The son of Curved Ball (AUS) kept in touch with the pacesetter, Pirate Hunter, but coming into the home straight there was never any doubt about who would win the 2400m Zimbabwe Derby. Ryan Munger rode the winner for Penny Fisher.
Israel, second, was followed across the line by Peggson and Bugatti Blue.