Trainer Sarel von Willingh Smit and jockey Francois Herholdt pulled off a sensational double when they clinched top honours for the second year running in the R200 000 RA Flamingo Mile at Flamingo Park on Saturday.
The topliner of the Flamingo Festival feature race treble hosted a decent strength field of eleven, with Mike De Kock raider Capricorn Ridge looking tough to beat.
But Herholdt and Smit were not be outdone, and after Taqdeer won last year, they delivered this time round with Paul Barrett’s Stone Pine, who showed courage in withstanding a late challenge by the marvelously improved Latino’s Jet.
After his good last Vaal win, De Kock’s Capricorn Ridge looked to be the horse to beat and he was backed into the red, before drifting late.
But drawn at 11, he was never really going well under Randall Simons, appearing to struggle throughout the race, and he had to be content with a 4,50 length third place.
But Stone Pine was always stalking Trade Emblem and in the firing line. He stayed on strongly to register a third win from his last four outings and clocked a winning time of 99,28 secs.
Stone Pine started at a rather generous 10 to 1 and his Cape-based owner Paul Barrett was on course to enjoy the win.
Latino’s Jet was a quarter length behind in second place and this 4yo can only pay to follow, as he always delivers an honest effort.
The Highlands bred Stone Pine is a 7yo gelded son of Spectrum out of the four-time winning Badger Land mare, Scent Of Pine.
A R220 000 National Yearling Sale purchase, Stone notched up his 11th win on Saturday with 12 places from 48 starts for stakes of R632 340.
He started life on the turf in Cape Town, where his then trainer Glen Kotzen thought him to be a potential Derby type horse. He certainly has found his niche in Kimberley!