A son of South African stallion Badger’s Drift has recorded a dazzling victory in Kenya’s biggest race. Just Bluffing was an easy victor of the 2012 running of the Gr1 Spur Steak Ranches Kenya Derby run over 2400m at the scenic Ngong Racecourse in Nairobi.
The irony of a three year named Just Bluffing winning on April Fool’s Day would not have been lost on his supporters who climbed in and screamed the talented fellow home in a race first run at the outbreak of the First World War.
Taking up the running on the back straight, the free striding Just Bluffing grabbed a three length lead on his five opponents and increased the advantage after turning for home to win unextended.
It was a memorable afternoon for Owner David Armstrong and Trainer Nur Nuno & Texuanze Karugu. Nuno’s horse was the third highest rated runner in the field and this was his third win from just six starts. Out of the one-time winning Jallad mare Medusa, Just Bluffing’ sire Badger’s Drift was Champion Freshman Sire here in 2007. He topped the Stallions list for 3 year olds in South Africa, with an impressive strike rate of 73% winners runners at a stage last season.
He has produced the likes of Act of Supremacy and Lord Badger, who placed 3rd and 4th in the Grade 3 Champion Juvenile Cup over 1400m as well as stayer Hospitality who has won staying features out of Mike Stewart’s yard in the Western Cape.
His other notable progeny include Ivory Trail, winner of the Grade 1 Champions Cup over 1800m, the Gr2 Peninsula Handicap over 1800m, the Grade 3 Langerman Handicap over 1500m and the Listed Memorial Mile over 1600m.
Badger’s Drift himself was the second highest priced yearling at the National Sales in 1999, purchased for R500 000. He went on to win 7 races including three Grade 1 races, and two legs of the Triple Crown. He proved himself to be a versatile racehorse, winning over distances from 1300 – 2450m and earning himself R1.8 million in stakes in the process. He set a new course record in The Classic Gr 1 over 1800m, and he went on to win races such as the SA Derby Gr 1 over 2450m, and the Daily News 2000 Gr 1 over 2000m.
His sire Badger Land was the winner of 5 races in USA, from 1600-1800m. He made his mark on South African racetracks, siring the likes of All Will Be Well, Blossoming Fields, Wolf Whistle, Badger’s Coast, Gleaming Sky, Highland Night, Hinterland, Red Badge, American Badger and Badge of Honour, to name but a few. Badger Land was crowned Champion Sire in 2001.
The Derby, the highlight and climax of Kenya’s horseracing season, was held against the background of a Tourism Expo and Racing Festival held at the Ngong Racecourse and Golf Park.
The event got under way on Saturday March 31. Managing Director of Kenya Tourism Board, Mureithi Ndegwa said that the time had come to extend domestic sports tourism and holding a tourism fair was the best way of doing it.
Tour operators, hoteliers, camp and lodge owners were invited to market their companies through the two-day expo. The KTB, the major sponsors of the event donated Sh1m and formed a partnership with Derby sponsors, Spur Steak Ranches who besides injecting cash also hosted a “Miss Derby Kenya” competition.
Tom Fraser, the Jockey Club of Kenya director, expressed his appreciation at the generous input from both the KTB and The Spur Steak Ranches saying for the 108 years that racing has existed in Kenya, that this year’s Derby was the biggest.
Ngong Racecourse is now in its 58th year and was established to replace the old racecourse in Kariokor, near the Nairobi Central Business District. It is the only racecourse in the country and apart from horseracing, the venue has also been utilised for for cross country running competitions, ostrich racing and has also acted as a special stage for the Safari Rally.