Charismatic legend of the saddle Andrew Fortune didn’t even bother to mention the ruling South African Horse Of The Year’s name when throwing out a challenge after the Querari star Kangaroo Jack had paralysed his opposition to make it five on the trot with a sensational victory in the R400 000 Gr2 Joburg Spring Challenge.
Fortune has quickly bonded with the 4yo Kangaroo Jack, who must be the fastest rising prospect on the SA racing scene after his fifth straight win – including two Gr2’s and a Gr3 – at Turfontein on Saturday.
Kangaroo Jack is yet to be tested beyond 1450m but the manner of his win on Saturday underscored Fortune’s bullish approach to his getting a mile.
“Look here, I am not scared to take on that horse of Sean Tarry’s (we assume he was referring to champion Legal Eagle) in the Horse Chestnut at level weights,” he said in his typically dismissive needling style.
Fortune added that he was very grateful to ride a horse that keeps getting better.
“He is an easy horse to ride and he will stretch those top horses at a mile. We needed a horse like this to take us to the next level and let’s face it, Gary (Alexander) has trained a million Gr1 winners.”
Saturday’s win was a walk in the park for Kangaroo Jack who was cruising in the box seat as his stablemate Champagne Haze led Master ‘N Commander.
At the 350m marker, Fortune stepped on the juice and it was race over as the smart gelding stretched clear to win by 2 lengths in a time of 88 secs.
Will Pays came with a rattle down the inside rail to shade the late eyecatching effort of Drill Hall Stakes winner New Predator.
Alexander saddled first and fourth, with Charity Mile candidate Champagne Haze staying on for fourth 2,70 lengths back after going quite quickly and doing the donkey work.
St Tropez ran a decent enough race to finish fifth, while his July winning stablemate The Conglomerate was slow out and ran stone last.
Trainer Gary Alexander labelled Kangaroo Jack ‘a fantastic horse’.
“He is athletic, is loaded with ability and has a good temperament. The hallmarks of a good racehorse and we are very excited for the Wallace family,” he said.
The winner was bred by owner Mrs Joyce Wallace’ late husband and is by Maine Chance stallion Querari, out of the versatile five-time winning Model Man mare Rainbow Flag, who was bred by Swynford Paddocks (Pty) Ltd and also raced in the Joyce Wallace silks.
Douglas Wallace, son of the owner, accepted the trophy and said that Kangaroo Jack meant a lot to the family as he was the last horse his late Dad had bred.
Kangaroo Jack has now won 6 races with 3 places from 10 starts and took his earnings to R880 775 with Saturday’s win.
His exciting Gr1 winning sire Querari, who had a Gr3 family member winner in Europe last month, has made a sensational start to the 2016-2017 season, with his Gr1 winning daughter Querari Falcon making it 3 from 4 when winning her season opener at the end of last month.
The champion son of Oasis Dream will be represented by three lots at October’s CTS Ready To Run Sale Presented by Lanzerac Hotel & Spa.
Have a look at lots 40, 127 and 149. You could find your own Jack O’ Diamonds!
Gr2 Joburg Spring Challenge (SAf-Gr2)
Turffontein, South Africa, October 8, R400k, 1450m, turf, good, 1.28.28
1 – KANGAROO JACK (SAF), 58.5, b g 4, Querari (GER) – Rainbow Flag (SAF) by Model Man (SAF). Owner Mrs M J Wallace; Breeder RB Wallace; trainer GM Alexander; jockey A Fortune
2 – Will Pays (SAF), 58.0, b g 5, Imperial Stride (GB) – Rattlebag (SAF) by Jallad (USA)
3 – New Predator (AUS), 58.5, b c 4, New Approach (IRE) – Head Over Heels (AUS) by Fastnet Rock (AUS)
Margins: 2.00, 0.20, 0.50