The R150 000 Listed Banyana Handicap run over 1000m at the Vaal on Thursday was a happy story of a plan come together. Veteran jockey Robbie Fradd rode a top race to produce the grey Stenger mare Sapphire Ring at just the correct moment after her opponents had gone very fast early.
There were many who considered the 1000m just a touch on the short side for Sapphire Ring, but after being the medium of a betting gamble, she finished with a sustained burst and won by a half length in a time of 60,15secs.
It is always thrilling to see an old dog like Fradd getting excited about a win and the well travelled rider punched the air in delight as he flashed across the line. Nuresh Juglall must have thought he was riding Frankel and his mount Ikati did not benefit from the best of rides by being a hundred miles out of her ground early on. She ran on strongly for second, down the outside.
Another grey, the Var flyer La Volta, faded late after showing blistering toe just ahead of De Kock’s AmurAffair. The latter faded badly needing the run, but La Volta managed to hang on for third place and only 0,60 lengths behind the winner. Club Captain ran fourth
A R200 000 National Yearling Sale graduate, the Highlands-bred Sapphire Ring is owned by Peter White and former well-known horseracing administrator, Colin Gordon.
Sapphire Ring has the distinction of being the first SA female stakes winner for Irish-bred Rainbow Quest stallion Spectrum. She is out of the five-time winning Elliodor mare Star Sapphire, who like her daughter was fast and limited to sprints.
With this fifth win from 18 starts, she has also run 5 places and took her career stake earnings to R407 050.
Her elated trainer expressed the hope in the post-race interview that Sapphire Ring would be kept in training for another season. She is lightly raced and loving her racing and there is every reason to believe that she will continue to earn and pay her way. A mobile advertisement for racehorse ownership