KZN had a brilliant day yesterday at Turffontein, kicking it off with a surprise Gr2 win in the SA Fillies Nursery, whilst Takingthepeace did not disgrace herself to finish 4th in her Triple Tiara bid, and Summerhill gained another outstanding Gr1 with son of Await The Dawn, Hero’s Honour.
For a small province, an outstanding day indeed when racing with the best in Gauteng!
Reminiscent of the shock win by King’s Temptress a few years back, another daughter of King Of Kings came flying through to win the Gr2 SA Fillies Nursery for owner, breeder and trainer St John Gray.
In the process, Ronnie’s Candy defeated the most expensive filly ever sold at a BSA National Yearling Sale, with R5-million Ghaalla finishing second two and a half lengths off.
Ronnie’s Candy, winning third time out and for the first time at Turffontein, after placing in her first two starts over 1000m and 1200m and franking the form of two of the horses she lost against previously, is out of Jet Master mare Bennie Andthe Jets.
St John Gray purchased Bennie Andthe Jets off the 2015 KZN Mare Sale consigned by The Fort Stud, when she was in foal to King Of Kings and carrying Ronnie’s Candy.
The mare was previously owned by Aldora Stud and is from the last crop of the great racehorse, King Of Kings, who ended his days at Jill Fox’s The Fort Stud after suffering from heart failure in February 2015.
The dam of Gr3 placed Mogok Master stands at Cathy and Jonathan Martin’s Hadlow Stud for St John Gray, and currently has a Mogok yearling colt, and a Mogok weanling filly and in foal to Bezrin – the sire of recent Kenilworth Stakes winner, Too Phat To Fly and Bezanova.
All eyes were on the brave Visionaire KZN-bred filly Takingthepeace, in the third leg of the Triple Tiara and she was not disgraced. Coming off her customary run from the back of the field, she made up masses of ground over the 2450m to finish a very admirable fourth, just two lengths off in the Gr2 SA Oaks which may have been a stretch too long for her. Takingthepeace has made KZN immensely proud once again and particularly for Champion breeders, Summerhill Stud.
Comeback Kid Mark Khan defied fitness doubts and the generous betting odds to grab his fourth SA Derby winner when steering longshot Hero’s Honour home for Gary Alexander in the R2 million Gr1 SA Derby at Turffontein on Saturday.
A five-times SA champion jockey, Khan was having his first Gr1 ride in over 7 years when throwing a leg over Hero’s Honour as he turned back time and made a mockery of age and battle scars – and that after retiring from the saddle in 2010.
Khan returned to race riding in August last year, hurt a knee while work riding and was off for six months from the end of October. This was his first win since his recent return to riding.
A maiden winner, Hero’s Honour was trying the 2450m for the first time on Saturday and taking on some big guns. But he produced the goods to give Gary Alexander his third SA Derby success and the jockey-trainer combination a second after Timber Trader won the race in 2002.
Khan had Hero’s Honour relaxed in fifth as Walter Smoothie and Gambado showed the way all the way around. At the 400m, Aldo Domeyer produced Ashley Fortune’s Cash Time down the centre with what looked to be a winning surge. But Hero’s Honour slipped down the rail and took command as Surcharge and Noble Secret took off late.
At the line, the multiple champion jockey had judged it to perfection and the 55-1 shot Hero’s Honour registered an impressive win by 1,50 lengths in a time of 155,09.
A R300 000 2016 CTS Johannesburg Ready To Run Sale graduate, Hero’s Honour has won two races with two places from six starts for stakes of R1 354 600.
Bred by Summerhill, the winner is by Await The Dawn – a son of Giant’s Causeway who stood for less than two years at Summerhill Stud before he died of a heart attack in October 2014.
Await The Dawn is a very sad loss to breeding in KZN, having headed the first season ranks of his year by a superior winners to runners percentage – and he continues to do so, currently at an outstanding 47.7%.
Hero’s Honour is out of the versatile four-time winner Grail Maiden (Galileo), who won from 1200m to 2400m, and no doubt imparted her staying genes to her son. Summerhill has had huge success with Galileo mares, which have produced Gr2 winner Intergalactic and the great Igugu.
Congratulations to all concerned!