Jockey Andrew Fortune was the King Of Kimberley on Saturday. His winning hat-trick included a feature double, with a particularly sweetly judged ride to get the classy Varbration home in the R135 000 World Sports Betting Sprint.
Going off at 17 to 10 in the thirteen horse field, the lightly raced Louis Goosen-trained 4yo looked the right one on paper and was always in the firing line in the 1000m non black-type feature.
That said, at the 300m marker, any one of five looked to be in with a realistic chance. But the ice-cool Fortune is the master of delivery at the right moment and he brought the Var gelding through without fuss
The joint topweighted Varbration was just too fast for his rivals in the end and held off a late challenge from the lightly weighted one-time winner, Beez Brother, to win by 0,70 lengths in a time of 56,46 secs.
Corne Spies’ filly Sarve was a short head back in third, with Kimberley’s newly crowned Horse Of The Year, Black Pepper, running a gallant fourth.
The ebullient Fortune was at his modest brilliant best in the post-race interview:
“Louis Goosen was confident and he won well. But hey, two months ago I weighed 70kgs sitting on my couch. Look at me now. And Tyson (Bowes) was so nervous before the race. Doesn’t he realise that if ever anybody wanted somebody to ride for their life it would have to be me!” he said, with a laugh.
Assistant trainer Tyson Bowes drove the Goosen float down to Kimberley and he was almost as happy as his jockey: “Varbration travelled well . I must thank Louis Goosen – he has taught me plenty. Thanks also to owner Mario Ferreira for all the support,” he said.
Varbration, a R550 000 National Yearling Sale purchase, has now won 4 races with 3 places from 10 starts, for stakes of R296 375.
Bred by Avontuur, he is by Var out of the USA winning Miswaki mare, Murmuration. This is the same multiple winning family as Muamba, Captain’s Lullabye and Dean Kannemeyer’s promising 3yo, Mambo Mime.
As the winner of the first leg of the R1 885 000 Supreme Challenge, Goosen will now be looking at the next two legs. Any horse that can win all three legs of the ‘sand triple crown’ will land a bonus of R500 000 sponsored by World Sports Betting.
The next leg will be the Gr3 R250 000 August Stakes run over 1200m on the Vaal Sand and will culminate in the Gr2 R1 million SAP Supreme Cup to be run over 1450m at the same track.