On a day of mixed fortunes for his yard, trainer Johan Janse van Vuuren picked up his maiden Gr2 Merchants success courtesy of the Visionaire gelding, The Thinker.
Easy to back at 12-1 in a wide open handicap, the lightly raced The Thinker showed that he could be a sprinter to follow this season when he stormed through from some lengths off the speed for an impressive victory.
The only winner on the multiple feature programme in the SA champion owner silks of the Mayfair Speculators, The Thinker rewarded those that had seen his hard luck run when under a length off Graduation Day in the Golden Loom Handicap at his last outing.
With Naafer and Romi’s Boy going quickly early on, Donovan Mansour had The Thinker nearer last early on but gradually built him up into contention.
At the 300m marker, Naafer galloping all alone down the inside looked like he could be a serious challenger, but The Thinker had them all ice cold and went on to score by 1,10 lengths over the game 3yo Naafer in second. No time was published.
Amazing Strike improved again to snare third ahead of Captain Aldo and the late finishing Talktothestars.
Topweighted Bull Valley (5 lengths), Lebelo Sprint winner Rivarine (5,50 lengths) and the favourite Graduation Day (6 lengths) never showed.
Trainer Johan Janse van Vuuren was a relieved man.
“After Square The Circle was beaten earlier and Kilauea ran such a bad race in the Magnolia, I was worried. I knew The Thinker would be the watershed – he was the horse putting up good work at home. Thankfully he produced that on the track!”
Jockey Donovan Mansour was over the moon.
“I was unlucky last time in the Golden Loom and I knew that nothing that ran there could beat him today,” he added.
Bred by Summerhill Stud, The Thinker is a 4yo son of Gr1 King’s Bishop Stakes winner Visionaire (Grand Slam) out of the three-time winner Radiant Lass (Northern Guest).
A R180 0000 CTS Johannesburg Ready To Run Sale graduate, The Thinker has won 5 races with 1 place from 11 starts and stakes of R590 050.
Gr2 Merchants (SAf-Gr2)
Turffontein, South Africa, November 26, R450k, 1160m, turf, soft, 1.07.62
1 – THE THINKER (SAF), 52.0, b g 4, Visionaire (USA) – Radiant Lass (SAF) by Northern Guest (USA). Owner Mayfair Speculators (Pty) Ltd (Nom: Mr D L Brugman); Breeder Summerhill Stud; trainer JAJ v Vuuren; jockey D Mansour
2 – Naafer (AUS), 52.0, b c 3, Lonhro (AUS) – Very Discreet (AUS) by Exceed And Excel (AUS)
3 – Amazing Strike (SAF), 53.5, b g 6, Ideal World (USA) – Bayard Crown (SAF) by Strike Smartly (CAN)
Margins: 1.10, 0.60, 1.00