Summerveld trainer Alistair Gordon may fancy his chances of following in the footsteps of his colleague Paul Lafferty who won the Gauteng Guineas in 2015 with the ill-fated Harry’s Son.
That after Gordon’s flagbearer Monks Hood hacked up to win an MR 96 Handicap at Scottsville on Sunday.
The entries for the first leg of the SA Triple Crown, the R1 million Gr2 Gauteng Guineas, close at 11h00 on Monday, and the body language and utterances of Monks Hood’s regular pilot Anthony Delpech suggest that the KZN raiders can go close to repeating the Lafferty feat.
Delpech, who celebrated his birthday and took the day off on Saturday, should know what it takes to win the Gauteng Guineas. This century he has won the feature, which will be run on 3 March, three times – aboard Link Man (2011) and Imbongi (2008) for Mike de Kock, and then also in 2003 on Surveyor for Ormond Ferraris.
Sunday’s outing was a 1400m exercise gallop for the Wilgerbosdrift Stud-owned 2017 Dingaans winner, who was having his first start in 11 weeks since that career peak at end November.
Delpech had him relaxed at the rear of the seven horse party, as the hardknocking 5yo Redcarpet Captain led the way.
At the 350m Monks Hood was switched out and he drew off without tasting the whip to win very easily – with Delpech playfully stroking his head and giving him a congratulatory pat down the neck as they hit the line.
Redcarpet Captain stayed on for second, a length back. The winner was not stretched to register 82,17 secs.
With the current Merit Ratings versus Racefigure debate, it is interesting to note that the two-time winning 3yo favourite Monks Hood was getting 2kg from a ten time winner and gave a kilo to a six-time winner.
“He has matured and also knows what it’s all about now. And we know to ride him cold. He is a lovely horse,” said Anthony Delpech.
Bred by Arne and the late Ben Botha, Monks Hood is a son of Querari (Oasis Dream) and is the fourth foal of the three-time winner Amber Boquet (Camden Park).
A R375 000 National Yearling Sale buy, he has won 3 races with 4 places from 7 starts and stakes of R511 500. Mary Slack is on record as suggesting that they may have paid more than they had expected to for the son of Querari. The books suggest he was worth every cent!
Look out for Monks Hood’s full brother from Benmarne Stud at the 2018 National Yearling Sale.