Son Of Irish Flame To Contest Gr1 Daily News 2000

Irish Flame at Bush Hill Stud. Image: Candiese Marnewick
Irish Flame at Bush Hill Stud. Image: Candiese Marnewick

Sunny Bill Du-Toy will look to emulate his sire Irish Flame on Saturday, by taking the Gr1 Daily News 2000. A dead-ringer for sire in looks, he has won his last three starts on the trot by a combined almost 10 lengths over 1800m – 2000m. Irish Flame stands at Warwick and Karin Renders Bush Hill Stud.

Irish Flame by Dynasty, contrary to thoughts of too much stamina in his blood, has a phenomenal turn of foot his jockey Kevin Shea has been heard to say – proved when he won the Gr1 SA Derby from an inform and brilliant Pierre Jourdan by an astounding 9 lengths over 2450m!

He went on to place second in the 2010 Vodacom Durban July, and after export overseas he continued his brilliance, running in a Conditions Plate to win by 3.25 lengths in the UK over 2200m, setting a new course record whilst carrying top weight and giving 6kgs of weight to the second placed horse. Irish Flame is a big horse, oozing class and quality with a big cat like walk – he really is a stallion that needs to be seen in the flesh.

In a tough and competitive world, trainers will do almost anything to keep their customers happy, reports.

But when an owner came up with a ‘fun’ name for one of her star babies that didn’t meet with her approval, Summerveld trainer Alyson Wright put her foot down with a firm hand, as it were.

That ‘star baby’ has turned out to be one of the better 3yo’s in KZN this season, and probably the best son of former SA Horse Of The Year and Equus champion Irish Flame (Dynasty) that we have seen to date.


His name is Sunny Bill Du-Toy, and after the Hollywood Syndicate’s newest champion impressed when registering a hat-trick of wins at Greyville on Wednesday, he could take his place in the R2 million Gr1 Daily News 2000 on Saturday 2 June.

The Sunny Bill Du-Toy story started at the 2016 KZN Sibaya Yearling Sale, where Alyson Wright loved him.

“He was my kind of horse and I always liked him. I decided to bid to R80 000. But stopped there and the late Mr Adriaan van Vuuren got him for R85 000. I knew I couldn’t have taken him on in a bidding war and felt a bit disappointed. But then he came up – still unnamed – five months later at the November Mixed Sale. We got him for R30 000,” says the horsewoman with a sharp eye for a winner.

The Hollywood Syndicate were quick to include him in their fleet and set about naming the strapping athlete.

“His name comes from a bunch of racing crazy lads connected to Hollywoodbets – some employees, some punters, some mates – who go to the Breeders’ Cup each year,” explained Owen Heffer.

Owen said that the initial name proposal was ‘Salty’, which is Ian Stangroom’s – one of the Breeders’ Cup gang – nickname. But this was rejected by the NHA.

The next suggested was the popular eatery name, ‘The Salted Pig’, but  Alyson Wright put her foot down at this point, refusing to allow her champ and baby to carry that tag.

“We need our trainer to be happy, so we relented and gave it some more thought. He was then named after another one of the Breeders’ Cup/Las Vegas boys, Suneal Batohi, who has been a regular at Hollywood since day one. Terry Commerford has always called Suneal  ‘Du Toit’,  as he couldn’t pronounce ‘Batohi’  correctly – especially after a few beers,” laughed Owen.

Suneal’s nickname is ‘Sunny Bill’ and that is basically how Sunny Bill Du-Toy got his name!

Sunny Bill Du Tooy. Image: Candiese Marnewick
Sunny Bill Du Toy. Image: Candiese Marnewick

As for Sunny Bill’s programme and a possible run in the Gr1 Daily News, Owen says the future planning is entirely in Alyson and Kevin Wright’s hands as they are the professionals – ‘and of course Alyson picked him’.

Alyson confirmed that it is possible that Sunny Bill Du-Toy will run in the Daily News but that a final call will be made before final declarations on Monday.

We asked her how good he is.

“We don’t know really as we don’t have the horses to test him against. But he has won three on the polytrack on the trot. He has done nothing wrong.”

Sunny Bill Du Tooy pictured as a yearling at the KZN Yearling Sale at Sibaya. Image: Candiese Marnewick
Sunny Bill Du Toy pictured as a yearling at the KZN Yearling Sale at Sibaya. Image: Candiese Marnewick

Will he go as well on the turf?

“Yes, I have no doubt he will be as effective on the grass. We just have more polytrack racing – that’s the only reason he has been racing on that surface.”

We asked Anton Marcus, who rode him at his Maiden win, what he thought of Sunny Bill Du-Toy.

“He is progressive and above average!” Anton told the Sporting Post on Friday.

Just goes to show that R30 000 can still buy a decent racehorse – and a whole lot of fun and thrills!

The Hollywood Syndicate currently has 21 horses in training, based in stables in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, and the Eastern Cape.

His sire Irish Flame stands for a fee of R10 000. The last #kznbred to win the Gr1 Daily News 2000 was Rabada.

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