The promising Kahal 3yo Romany Prince finally got his act together to win the R150 000 Listed Drum Star Handicap at Turffontein on Saturday and give legendary trainer Ormond Ferraris the 2500th winner of his 64 year career.
The milestone is a commendable one and the modest and quietly spoken Mr Ferraris was quick to point out that he has never trained more than 60 horses at any one time – which puts it all in perspective.
The twice SA champion trainer, who has won a host of the country’s top features, also added that he was proud of his clean record and named the Hintons’ Tracey’s Element and 2013 SA Triple Tiara victress Cherry On The Top as the best he has ever trained.
Ferraris completed his trainer’s apprenticeship under George Weale, with his licence being granted in 1952.
He trained his first winner, Shenandoah, in 1954.
His personal racing colours (black, scarlet sash and cap) were taken over from Weale and they have graced the racetracks of South Africa for over a century.
It was also very appropriate that the milestone was achieved by a runner racing in the silks of Ferraris stalwart Peter Dimakogiannis, a man who has held his colour privileges since 1972.
After the win, Dimakogiannis said that he was more thrilled for his trainer than for his personal winner:
“We are like a perfect pair in blackjack – and he has always been my trainer – and is my only trainer. I love this man,” said the thrilled owner.
Jockey Muzi Yeni, who replaced the injured Anthony Delpech, rode a cracker to steal a march on his field at the right time and withstand a late challenge from the gallant Judicial by a half length in a time of 110,79 secs.
“I am very grateful for the support and had lots in my favour with a a 1 draw and a light weight. I was there for free and tracked the front horses who faded out at the top of the straight. I asked Romany Prince for his final effort at the 200m and he gave it to me. It is an honour to be part of this great moment and my sympathies go out to Anthony Delpech,” said Yeni, who was aboard Chinawhite for Ferraris in the very next race.
The unflappable Ormond Ferraris said that it has been ‘a long road’ and that he had enjoyed ‘every moment’.
“Peter (Dimakogiannis) is the last surviving staunch owner of mine,” he reflected.
The Rathmor Stud-bred Romany Prince has won 3 races with 4 places from 11 starts and took his stakes total to R285 150.
Romany Prince is a R450 000 National Yearling Sale graduate and is by Kahal out of the Royal Chalice mare, Gypsy Queen. That makes Romany Prince a half-brother to US Gr1 winner Gypsy’s Warning (Mogok)
Gypsy’s Warning was also bred by Mike and Tanya McHardy at their Rathmor Stud in Nottingham Road, KwaZulu Natal. Gypsy’s Warning’s dam Gypsy Queen raced only once, but was a full sister to two winners of the South African Oaks in Royal Prophecy and Noble Destiny.
National log-leading apprentice Callan Murray rode the first of three Ferraris winners on the day in the same silks to mark a personal milestone of 100 career winners.