Veteran trainer Ormond Ferraris won the inaugural KZN Breeders Million Mile in 2012 with the Ivanhoe bred Knock On Wood, which raced in the colours of his son David.
On Saturday the senior statesman of the SA training ranks took the honours in the restricted feature again. This time with the Rathmor Stud-bred Romany Prince, who got the better of a thrilling Kahal exacta duel with 7yo sprinter, London Call.
The feature, the only event on the nine-race KZN Breeders Day run on the turf, produced a grandstand finish with the 5yo Gauteng raider getting the better of Mark Dixon’s top-class 7yo sprinter, who refused to go down without a fight.
The win by Romany Prince was a pleasing KZN Yearling Sale boost for Rathmor Stud, who offer Gypsy Rose (# 184) from the same family.
She is a Noble Tune daughter and half-sister to six winners, most notably to dual SA & US Gr1 winner Gypsy’s Warning.
The well endowed feature headlined the KZN Breeders annual raceday and is restricted to KZN bred 3yo’s and older registered as KwaZulu-Natal bred in terms of the Gold Circle Racing and Gaming Group Thoroughbred Breeder, Stallion and Owner Premium scheme.
The withdrawal of last year’s winner, and Vodacom Durban July hopeful, Matador Man on Thursday threw the race open. But the favourite obliged in the end.
Warren Kennedy rode a perfectly judged race after a slow start, when he got Romany Prince into a favourable position as London Call led Matador Man’s half-brother Subtropical and Unagi into the home straight.
With London Call seemingly headed for glory, Kennedy produced Romany Prince through a tight gap and the 5yo looked to sail on by. But Brandon Lerena and the hardknocking London Call had other ideas and they fought back with vigour.
At the line, Romany Prince held a head advantage to bank the R625 000 cheque for staunch owner Peter Dimakogiannis. He won in a time of 97 secs flat.
London Call was gallant in defeat, with Gary Alexander’s raider Unagi paying the travelling costs with a handsome R100 000 bank in third.
Subtropical stayed on for fourth, with 2017 runner-up Dawn Calling taking the final stakes slice of R25 000 for fifth.
In addition to the winning stake, the first placed connections won a voucher to the value of R20 000 towards the purchase of a KZN-bred yearling at the KZN Yearling Sale, with the second, third and fourth placed connections each getting a voucher of R10 000 towards the same. The KZN Yearling Sale takes place 5 & 6 July at Sibaya.
Trainer Frank Robinson saddled the winner for Ormond Ferraris.
“Romany Prince arrived here on Friday. He looked magnificent. Even at his age, Ormond Ferraris is still the king,” said Robinson.
The 2017 Gr3 London News Stakes winner, Romany Prince was bred by Rathmor Stud and is a half brother a to dual Gr1 winner Gypsy’s Warning (Mogok).
He was Ormond Ferraris’ 2500th career winner in 2016 when he won the Listed Drum Star.
A R450 000 National Yearling Sale graduate, the dark bay gelding has earned R1 381 525 with 7 wins and 10 places from 34 starts.
A son of the deceased Kahal (Machiavellian), he is out of former KZN Breeders Broodmare Of The Year Gypsy Queen (Royal Chalice), a full sister to SA Oaks winners Royal Prophecy and Noble Destiny.
Gypsy Queen, unplaced in a single start at 3, never reached the racing stardom her sisters did on the track, but has left them behind in the breeding shed. She has begun her own dynasty, with her daughters at leading stud farms countrywide and Champion breeders Varsfontein Stud stand two of her daughters – one by Jalld, the other by Fort Wood.
They are already performing at stud globally – American and USA Gr1 winner Gypsy’s Warning, bred by Rathmor, has produced 2 foals and 2 winners – the second winning on debut very recently. The first – a Street Cry filly named Know raced in Ireland, won twice and sold to Japan as a broodmare prospect.
Gr2 Surabi by Wolfhound is off to an incredible start, producing Sundari and Gr3 placed, So Var.
Their half-sister by Jallad, Queen Of All, is the dam of Stakes Winner Queen Forever who is also multiple Listed Placed. Klawervlei have one of her last daughters produced at stud – the Silvano mare Judi Silvano is due to foal to Coup De Grace this year. Rathmor retained a Fort Wood daughter, Golden Earings, who foaled to Noble Tune in 2017.
Thank you to the owners and trainers who supported the KZN Breeders Race Day, as well as to our eight sponsors including the farm of the winners, Noble Tune.
It was a cross section of winning trainers on the day, with Sean Tarry taking three races, Glen Kotzen one with Trippi’s Girl, and Ormond Ferraris taking the main.
The local trainers to win were Garth Puller with his very smart Roman Dancer (by Crusade), Mark Dixon with his superb mare Isingamoya, Unbelievable Lad who gave his second win on the trot for Ivan and Darryl Moore, and Frank Robinson winning from start to finish with the aptly named Bank The Cash in the 1900.
Congratulations to Mike and Tanya McHardy of Rathmor Stud on a most deserving win in the Million Mile!