Trainer Geoff Woodruff and jockey Anton Marcus completed a superb feature double for Australian-bred runners at Turffontein on Saturday when the Dylan Thomas filly Wild Ash stayed on best to win the R150 000 Listed Spook Express Handicap run over 2450m.
Majmu had carried the Australian flag with fire in the day’s big Gr1 and Wild Ash followed in her footsteps in good style a half hour later.
The race named in honour of the international multiple stakes winning SA-bred Spook Express attracted only ten runners of varying ages across the Highveld female staying ranks and it was the youngest filly of the lot who led for most of the race.
Mike De Kock’s 3yo New Zealand-bred The Centenary stays well and Fransie Herholdt took her out to show the way on a tight rein as she led Luala and Rodeo Sioux, with Wild Ash going well in fourth.
Herholdt upped the ante at the top of the home straight as The Centenary grabbed a length or two with Erin and Wild Ash finishing well.
With The Centenary suddenly going out the back door, the 28-10 favourite Erin clung doggedly to her lead and looked a possible winner.
But she had no answer to the superior staying power of the 7-2 shot Wild Ash, who powered on strongly under a determined Anton Marcus to win by 2,75 lengths in a time of 154,55 secs.
It was a welcome form return for the Woodruff yard, who have been quiet of late.
The Fort Wood mare Erin ran a game race under topweight, while the winner’s stablemate Touch The Sky stayed on a little one-paced into third.
Wild Ash has won 4 races with 6 places from 14 starts and R358 625 in stakes. This was her first stakes victory but she is getting stronger and looks likely to add further to her black-type credit in time to come.
The smart 4yo winner has been through a few sales rings in her time.
She was bred by M & R Services Pty Ltd, NSW and originally sold at the Inglis Australian Select Weanling Sale when purchased by Heritage Bloodstock for $18 000
She was then purchased by Geoff Woodruff for R360 000 on the Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale in 2012 when consigned by Ascot Stud. She attracted quite some interest as the only yearling on that sale by former Irish Derby winner, Dylan Thomas.
Wild Ash then found her way on to the 2012 Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale,where she was a vendor buy-back.
She races for Mrs Ashnee Devachander.
A daughter of six times Gr1 winner and champion, Dylan Thomas, the winner is out of the Giant’s Causeway mare, Wild Orchid. This is the powerful international family of such classic winners as Etoile de Paris, Northern Treasure and Oscar Schindler.