A Gr1 false start on a major raceday with Hong Kong betting on our racing was not the ideal tonic for our racing authorities at Kenilworth on Saturday. But things ended well with the eventual tote favourite winning and saving a few punters.
Trainers and their personnel had been urged by Phumelela to show some enthusiasm and efficiency with time-keeping on the big day in order to impress our Hong Kong investors. But we seem to have a mental block about Swiss efficiency in Africa and we note that by the third race, the schedule was already under the whip and running late – with no extraordinary incident attributable.
But back to the speed climax of the Cape summer season.
After the enthusiastic 8yo Tevez had jumped the gun, the 17 horse field for the Gr1 Cape Flying Championship was reduced on restart through the late withdrawal of Search Party, Olympian and Mike de Kock star Naafer, who Anthony Delpech was unable to pull up.
After pacing it down the inside with Bold Respect and Percival, it was apparent that Sergeant Hardy was in a galloping mood and despite some looming threats from the likes of Trip To Heaven and Brutal Force, Bernard Fayd’herbe kept him focussed to win easily by 1,25 lengths in a time of 58,74 secs and give Justin Snaith the first leg of a glorious Gr1 treble.
Trip To Heaven, who only jumped marginally slowly, came on strongly to grab his second consecutive runner-up cheque in this race.
The smart filly Live Life had to be reshod at the start and despite that trauma she flew up for third, ahead of Brutal Force and Attenborough.
Brett Crawford’s 3yo Bold Respect showed a lot of pace but faded out to finish 3 lengths off the winner.
Despite his breathing issues, Sergeant Hardy continues to more than pay his way for the Foulkes family. This was his 8th win – his first Gr1 – with 5 places from 17 starts for stakes of R1 823 375.
The now 4yo 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!
Bred by Normandy Stud, he is by deceased champion sire Captain Al (Al Mufti) – who sired the winner of the earlier $500 000 CTS 1600 – out of the four-time winner Hard Lady (by Hard Up), who also raced in Veronica’s vieux rose and white silks.
Gr1 Cape Flying Championship (SAf-Gr1)
Kenilworth, South Africa, January 27, R1 million, 1000m, turf, good, 58.74
1 – SERGEANT HARDY (SAF), 60.0, b g 4, Captain Al (SAF) – Hard Lady (SAF) by Hard Up (ARG). Owner Mrs V A Foulkes & Mr O de W Foulkes; Breeder Normandy Stud; trainer J Snaith; jockey B Fayd’herbe
2 – Trip To Heaven (SAF), 60.0, b g 6, Trippi (USA) – Helleborus Blue (USA) by Cee’s Tizzy (USA)
3 – Live Life (SAF), 57.5, b f 4, Trippi (USA) – Viva (SAF) by National Assembly (CAN)
Margins: 1.25, 0.20, 0.75