Justin Snaith’s perpetual motion machine Sergeant Hardy came out firing on all cylinders to go from gun to tape and win the R150 000 Listed Southeaster Sprint at Kenilworth on Saturday.
Unlike at recent Kenilworth meetings, the Cape Doctor was not on duty on Saturday and a light breeze kept matters cool on a programme that saw disappointingly small fields being hosted.
A Grade 3 winning son of Captain Al, Sergeant Hardy is beset by breathing issue due to a vocal chord disease, but his heart and ability makes up for the respiratory shortcomings – and on Saturday he showed his paces.
Demonstrating that his fitness levels were vastly improved after his Cape Merchants no-show, Bernard Fayd’herbe had the 4yo out quickly and hard against the inside rail.
With the field reduced to seven runners as a result of the withdrawal of Kingston Passage at the start, there was little to go with the Sergeant as he stretched in front.
At the 400m, the very capable Brutal Force looked dangerous for a moment but Fayd’herbe was bluffing out front.
Sergeant Hardy kicked again at the 150m marker and drew away to beat Rock Of Africa by 1,75 lengths in a time of 64,08 secs with Brutal Force a further 3,50 lengths back in third under his 62kg top weight.
Lord Balmoral (6,25 lengths) and Horse Guards (8,50 lengths) were the disappointments of the race.
Sergeant Hardy was knocked down to Glen Kotzen at the 2015 Cape Premier Yearling Sale for R450 000, but subsequently failed the post-sale scope which resulted in the sale being cancelled. At the Ready to Run Sale his right vocal chord remained paralysed, and a veterinary certificate to this effect was posted on his stable door. It was at this sale that he was bought back for R70 000 – an extraordinary price for a horse with an advertised defect.
He is by deceased champion sire Captain Al (Al Mufti) out of the four-time winner Hard Lady (by Hard Up), who also raced in the vieux rose and white silks.
Sergeant Hardy has now won 7 races with 4 places from 15 starts and stakes of R1 158 375.
Interestingly, he won the non black-type Need For Speed Sprint at the corresponding meeting last year.