The KZN Oaks and Derby debate received some traditional compensation at Scottsville on Sunday with 3yo’s at least winning both ‘classics’. While the favourite came home fluently in the Derby, punters were less fortunate in the Oaks where Sean Tarry produced a 25-1 blowout.
Human nature has a way of adapting to change and into its third year now of open conditions, both races went off without a murmur – and in fact, produced thrilling finishes.
Trainer Sean Tarry’s yard has not been at their lethal best since the announcement of a suspected virus, but after winning the previous Sunday’s Jubilee Handicap at Turffontein with Liege, the SA champion would have been happy to strike again – even though this win was an unpopular one for punters.
S’manga Khumalo rode a beautifully judged and confident (maybe the lack of pressure helped?) race on the Summerhill bred Witchcraft, who continued the afternoon’s trend of winning from up with the pace.
The daughter of Kahal galloped strongly from the top of the straight and despite drifting inwards towards the challenging Flying Ice, she had enough in reserve to win easily by 1,50 lengths in a time of 153,22 secs.
The 40-1 Flying Ice appeared to enjoy the increased test of stamina and is overdue to register her third career win.
Her stablemate Deputy Ryder was also not disgraced a half length back in third, with the even money favourite Nightingale disappointing, a further length back in fourth.
The Stipes reported Vino Veritas was slow away, while Gathering Fame pulled up lame.
Nightingale and The Centenary were both examined by the Vet post-race and nothing untoward was detected.
So where did Witchcraft come from?
She is a R400 000 Johannesburg Ready To Run graduate and has now won 4 races with 1 place from 12 starts and took her earnings to R402 175.
Here recent form has not been sparkling – unplaced runs in the SA Oaks and Woolavington preceded this victory. But she has some decent staying blood coursing through her veins and may be a filly with good scope over ground.
Bred by Summerhill she is by the ill-fated Kahal out of the Irish mare Deceptive Charm, who is out of a Sadler’s Wells/Mill Reef mare, String Quartet.
This is a female line that has proved itself successful at the highest level in South African racing, including the likes of Gr1 Gold Bowl winner Mosszao, as well as Autumn Lodge.
The damline also includes four sires – Gr1 winners Le Moss and Levmoss, as well as Alleging and Visions Of Grandeur found under the second dam.
Kahal has his last crop of yearlings on offer this year at the upcoming Sibaya KZN Yearling Sale on 30 June, with seven yearlings available – including a half-sibling to the deceased Clifton-bred Fort Vogue and talented Gr3 winning Jet Master filly, Whatalady.
The colt is named Prince Of Kahal and sells as Lot 272 from Clifton Stud. This is the immediate damline of Warm White Night and Highland Night, as well as Prince Asad.
Gr3 Oaks (SAf-Gr3)
Scottsville, South Africa, June 19, R300k, 2400m, turf, good, 2.33.22
1 – WITCHCRAFT (SAF), 55.0, ch f 3, Kahal (GB) – Deceptive Charm (IRE) by Kingmambo (USA). Owner Messrs C J H van Niekerk, B G Gardner, M J Jooste & K P Truter; Breeder Summerhill Stud; trainer SG Tarry; jockey S Khumalo
2 – Flying Ice (SAF), 55.0, b f 3, Go Deputy (USA) – Strawberry Ice (SAF) by Western Winter (USA)
3 – Deputy Ryder (SAF), 58.0, ch f 4, Go Deputy (USA) – Miss Ryder (SAF) by Red Ryder (USA)
Margins: 1.50, 0.50, 1.00