Nile Symphony may well be the only winner of a stallion who turned to a career as a showjumper after 2 seasons at stud, but he can gallop on his day and loves the polytrack. He celebrated his richest paydate ever when winning the R100 000 Speedsters Stakes at Fairview on Friday.
In under sufferance, and nibbled at on the tote (he paid R9-60 a win), Nile Symphony’s second consecutive win over the synthetic 1000m suggested that he may well have more to come – and he has only just turned 5.
His sire Nacht Musiek, a son of National Emblem, raced in Port Elizabeth and Durban from 2003 to 2007 where he won seven races from 1000m to 1400m and was placed 16 times.
While a genuine hardknocker, he neither had the stakes performance nor the strength of pedigree to suggest any genuine pretensions of stallion status.
What must have been a rather emotionally motivated decision by his connections to send him to stud, ended after just two seasons of poor support and these days he is apparently enjoying life as an accomplished showjumper in Gauteng.
The Fairview meeting was switched to the Polytrack five days earlier after a track inspection of the turf surface.
Labelled, but also quietly fancied, by co-trainer Duncan McKenzie as being ‘out of his depth’ in the quality eight horse field, Nile Symphony led all the way and even when challenged from all sides, Gift Funeka simply kept his head down and his mount balanced.
Never quite looking like getting beaten in the final 200m, Nile Symphony held on admirably well to beat Tetelestai by 0,75 lengths in a time of 57,08 secs.
The revitalised Russian Mig was a short head further back in third after snapping at the leader’s heels all the way, with Vauclair and Blackmalkin dead-heating for fourth.
The pundits may argue that with under four lengths covering first to last, the form may prove dicey.
The winner was confidently ridden by Gift Funeka for the Tjoppies McLachlan / Duncan McKenzie partnership.
Nile Symphony races in Leno Pillay’s silks and is by Nacht Musiek out of the one-time winning Perfect Parade mare, Nile Holiday.
He was bred by Rodney and Lyn Clarkin in KZN.
Nile Symphony was in under sufferance but upped his game well to score his second consecutive course and distance victory.
Jockey Gift Funeka said that he had looked at the field and realised there was no pace. He said he used his draw and eased his mount when out in front: “His ears were pricked and we bided our time in the straight. When I squeezed him it was race over.“
Trainer Duncan McKenzie was over the moon: ”We took our chances and I am so pleased. The horse is gaining in confidence and that is a good sign.”
Owner Leno Pillay said he was overwhelmed and had ‘no words’. “This is his third win in 12 starts in PE. I just want to thank Duncan and Tjoppies and congrats to my Dad, Selva.”
Nile Symphony has won 4 races with 11 places from his 31 starts and took his earnings to R247 750. He was formerly trained in KZN by Paul Gadsby where he failed to win a race.
The most successful combination on the afternoon was the Greg Cheyne-Alan Greeff partnership, while Steven Janse Van Rensburg also saddled two winners.