When a jockey offers to pay we are always willing to sit up and take notice. Grant van Niekerk’s quip of ‘I’d pay to follow him’, after an armchair ride aboard SA’s auction record holder Horizon at Kenilworth on Tuesday, may not have come out exactly right – but the Dynasty colt certainly looks to have.
Big money horses are pressure from the day the hammer falls and the R5,2 million Horizon’s rather inauspicious 22-10 debut over 1200m at Kenilworth on 31 August had the cynics – and according to Van Niekerk, one of our most experienced assistant trainers – ticking the ‘I told you so’ box.
But it is amazing what some proper work, a Kenilworth grass gallop, sunshine and two months can do.
The big boy was a different proposition over the mile on Tuesday – and dealt with his opposition, and a difficult 11 draw, as he came forward powerfully and strode past the pacesetting 9-10 favourite Compton Court to win by 2,50 lengths in a time of 100,46 secs.
Both the top two are sons of Dynasty.
The Drakenstein-sponsored Grant van Niekerk was bullish about the winner’s future prospects in the post-race interview.
“I knew the feeling he gave me early on and he showed some of it today. He is going to be a decent horse this,” he said.
A relieved looking trainer Candice Bass-Robinson said that Horizon was still a colt and a bit reluctant to do his work.
“He is not an easy horse and we have worked on stripping him down rather than going the other route. He was a lot trimmer today than on debut and if it were not for his draw, I would have been very confident about him winning,” she said.
Horizon started at an easy to back 4-1 and paid over R8 for a tote win.
The Dynasty colt, originally named Shining Knight, made the headlines when he smashed the South African auction record when knocked down to Mike Bass and top game breeder Piet du Toit for R5.2 million at the CTS Cape Premier Yearling Sale in January last year.
Consigned by Maine Chance Farms, the regally-bred Horizon was bought by Kuda Insurance for the first time buyer.
By SA Horse Of The Year Dynasty, Horizon is out of a full-sister to former champion sire Silvano.
The South African auction record was subsequently broken in January this year on Day one of the Cape Premier Yearling Sale.
Mayfair Speculators and Coolmore went to R6 million for a handsome bay son of Silvano named Silver Coin, who is in training with Joey Ramsden.
The Rustenburg based du Toit, and his wife Vivia, entered the thoroughbred market with a bang after being introduced to the industry by Kuda Insurance boss Wehann Smith.
They must be enjoying it – their only other horse, Live Life, has won twice.
Their silks are quite unique too – green and khaki have not been seen on our tracks previously.