The Count Dubois gelding French Navy made his R100 000 CTS Ready To Run price tag look silly when he boosted his career earnings to over R3 million in just seven months of racing with a sensational victory in Saturday’s R2 million Gr1 Daily News 2000 at Greyville.
The traditional 3yo compass to possible Vodacom Durban July glory sadly also produced a few reputational casualties.
Starting at 14-1 and paying in excess of R11 for a tote win, the Sandown Stud bred Gr1 SA Classic winner was allowed to start a few lengths under the radar by punters.
And whether it was his softish third behind stablemate Legal Eagle in the SA Derby at his last start, or a 10 draw in the sixteen horse field (only fifteen jumped), there were a good few others fancied ahead of him.
And it is tempting fate disregarding anything that trainer Sean Tarry throws a saddle over these days. Tarry enjoyed some mixed fortunes in this event with Siren’s Call proving her rider’s assessment correct by failing to adapt to the track.
Overall though, the Randjesfontein-based Mr Tarry can’t be unhappy with another decent day at the office.
While he endured the disappointment of seeing his outstanding filly Siren’s Call run downfield, he cemented his champion trainer position, where he leads Mike De Kock by some R6 million – and also reinforced his eleven runner strong Vodacom Durban July claims.
After the withdrawal of Justin Snaith’s Ultimate Dollar at the start, the race was run at a frenetic pace with Run Rhino Run cutting out optimistic fractions up front.
This allowed Stingray Danielson the opportunity to settle French Navy well back and when the son of Count Dubois grabbed the bit at the 800m marker, it was race on.
Turning for home some 15 lengths off the lead, he bobbed and weaved his way through them after Ertijaal and The Conglomerate had looked likely winners inside the distance.
With the gaps opening, nothing was going better and French Navy came forward strongly to catch and wallop Ertijaal in a time of 122,79 secs.
Mike De Kock’s runner-up was beaten 1,25 lengths, while KRA Guineas hero The Conglomerate was a generally disappointing third. He was expected to enjoy the 2000m test.
His trainer Joey Ramsden commented on social media:
“Not ecstatic with 3rd place for The Conglomerate but it’s not quite ‘throw yourself off the building’ stakes just yet. There is still improvement to come for this horse and others will have to give us weight in the July. The jury is out and thinking.”
Weiho Marwing’s Guineas fifth placed Rampant Ice enjoyed the extra 400m and ran on strongly at any old price to bank fourth cheque – three quarters of a length behind The Conglomerate.
Disappointments included the Azzie pair of Deputy Jud (10 lengths) and the puzzling Amsterdam (16,25 lengths) – who were both beaten by their new stable companion Prince Of Orange.The ex Roy Magner trained son of Indigo Magic finished two lengths ahead of Deputy Jud.
Mike De Kock’s flash 2yo of last season Jayyed wore blinkers for the first time but was never in the hunt and finished 18,25 lengths behind French Navy – with Siren’s Call a half length behind him.
Siren’s Call’s run firmly confirmed jockey Piere Strydom’s opinion that she would battle to get going at Greyville. The daughter of Elusive Fort was under a driving push early on and faded right out in the straight. She must be a highly unlikely starter in the July on this run.
Spare a thought for our current SA champion trainer Justin Snaith.
In a freak coincidence, his runner Ultimate Dollar was withdrawn after kicking the back of the starting gates. This just weeks after his stablemate Legislate – also under Richard Fourie – had injured himself at the start of the Drill Hall Stakes.
But it was the Tarry & Danielson show.
Jockey Raymond ‘Stingray’ Danielson rode his seventh career Gr1 winner and his second on French Navy. He said:
“Thanks to Mr Sean Tarry for keeping me on. French Navy gets lost early but I was off the bridle from the word go as the pace was on. He picked it up at the 800m and then I knew it was game on. He will go places,this horse!”
Trainer Sean Tarry said that he felt the reprogramming of the Daily News five weeks after the SA Derby had worked out well:
“It gave us more time to freshen them up. And I felt he didn’t stay the 2450m of the Derby. We can’t win these big races without owners and their horses – and I mean owners that let us do our job and don’t want to train their horses. And as for Raymond – I have to check his pulse some days to see that he is still alive. But well done to him.I give him a hard time, but he has ridden two Gr1’s for me this season.”
French Navy has won 4 races (two of which are Gr1’s) with 5 places from his 10 starts. His only non-earning effort was on debut over the Vaal 1400m seven months ago.
The gelding (the only one in recent years on the illustrious Daily News honour roll) took his stakes earnings to a healthy R3 089 125.
French Navy was bred by Sandown Stud’s Geoff Armitage and is by Count Dubois out of the five-time winning Elliodor mare, Redoubtable.
He was bought for R100 000 on the 2013 R2 million CTS Ready To Run Sale held at Durbanville.
Owner Chris Van Niekerk has had plenty of Vodacom Durban July success in recent years – he could be in line for another big day on 4 July.
Gr1 Daily News 2000 (SAf-Gr1)
Greyville, South Africa, May 30, R2 million, 2000m, turf, good, 2.02.79
1 – FRENCH NAVY (SAF), 60.0, b g 3, Count Dubois (GB) – Redoubtable (SAF) by Elliodor (FR). Owner Mr C J H Van Niekerk; Breeder GJ Armitage; trainer SG Tarry; jockey R Danielson
2 – Ertijaal (AUS), 60.0, ch c 3, Hard Spun (USA) – Alharir (AUS) by Jeune (GB)
3 – The Conglomerate (AUS), 60.0, br c 3, Lonhro (AUS) – Republic Lass (AUS) by Canny Lad (AUS)
Margins: 1.25, 1.25, 0.75