A terrific tactical ride by the Avontuur- sponsored Anthony Delpech gave the Mike De Kock team a deserved polytrack feature success at a festive Pinkdrive Greyville night meeting on Friday. Alghadeer stayed on powerfully to win the R150 000 Listed Michaelmas Handicap to beat the well-backed filly Olma, in the process providing top sire Dynasty with a top two finish.
Greyville was transformed with a splash of pink and R300 000 was raised towards a great cause, with most folk warming to the occasion and donning a colour that may not be everybody’s everyday cup of tea. Leading the charge were the on-course presenters, with Warren Lenferna and former top jockey Kevin Shea, in particular, appearing to relish the opportunity of getting into the spirit of things and of showing their party colours.
On the racing front, things went mostly according to plan, with the Pick 6 paying less than R5000. Jockey Anthony Delpech found top form and rode a double to share riding honours with the in-form, and dare we say it again, thoroughly underrated, Alec Forbes.
With a capacity field of twelve runners lining up for the 1900m feature, it was little surprise to see Luyola Mxothwa taking the improving 4yo Master James up to lead the charge in blinkers for the first time, as Delpech tried to get Alghadeer across from his wide draw – and with the leader’s stablemate Solar Star running fresh after a break, tucked up in third.
At the 1000m marker Delpech eventually made the call and took the initiative on Alghadeer to lead them, as Master James eased back. The Dynasty filly Olma was lurking in fifth and was given a perfect outside rails run by Ian Sturgeon as they swung for home.
In the rush for the line, they were battling to get to Alghadeer as Master James, Solar Star and Penhaligon flattered briefly.
With Olma coming on powerfully down the outside, Alghadeer looked to be under threat inside the 200m, but stayed on strongly to win by a length in a time of 115, 01 secs.
Olma was definitely not disgraced in second, which probably won’t be any consolation for her backers – while The Royal Rumba rattled on late into third down the inside from some way back, a further half length adrift.
First time in his headger, the fancied Master James, who blew in the betting, showed plenty of pace but faded out late to finish fifth – but only 1,65 lengths off the winner – in a race where under 5 lengths seperated the whole gang.
The Gary Player Stud bred Alghadeer, who is by Dynasty out of the five-time winning Aristis mare, Typical.
The lightly tried 4yo was purchased for R375 000 on the Cape Premier Yearling Sale Book 1.
This was his third win with 2 places from 7 outings and he took his stakes earnings to R236 875, with plenty to come, by the looks of the way he is strengthening.
KZN racing goes into a brief hiatus with the next meeting at the same venue on 30 October.