The progressive Bold Eagle knew he was in a race for the first time in his short career when made to fight all the way to the wire to maintain his unbeaten record and win the R200 000 Gr3 Protea Stakes at Turffontein on Saturday.
Players who bankered the obvious and staked a claim to a slice of the bumper R5,4 million Classic Day Pick 6 would have had their hearts in their mouths in the final stages of the 1100m feature.
After Van Halen and Dewali had shown the way early, Anthony Delpech cruised up on Bold Eagle down the outside, only to find the maiden Dewali in a galloping mood.
With Muzi Yeni riding at the top of his game, Dewali kept finding – and just as Bold Eagle had put the Var colt to bed, S’manga Khumalo produced Cirillo with a dashing late burst.
Delpech never panicked and Bold Eagle maintained his advantage to hold Cirillo to a head in a time of 63,70 secs.
Robbie Sage’s Dewali should be an interesting runner in the maidens next time as he ran a great race to hold on for third.
While the SA Nursery is a natural next target, Gavin van Zyl’s Bold Eagle looks to be better over more ground as he matures.
“He was not going as well early in the running. He is looking for more at this point. And then he pricked his ears when he got there,” said Anthony Delpech.
A dead ringer for his sire Bold Silvano, Bold Eagle was bred by Riyo Stud and is out of the one-time winning Western Winter mare Inflorescence, and was a R210 000 buy from the 2017 National Yearling Sale.
A dual stakes winner of 3 races from 3 starts, he took his earnings to R284 375 and also banked the R87 500 BSA Added Value Stakes Bonus.
Gr3 Protea Stakes (SAf-Gr3)
Turffontein, South Africa, April 7, R200k, 1100m, turf, good, 1.03.07
1 – BOLD EAGLE (SAF), 60.0, b c 2, Bold Silvano (SAF) – Inflorescence (SAF) by Western Winter (USA). Owner Mr N Kokkoris; Breeder Riyo Stud; trainer G v Zyl; jockey A Delpech
2 – Cirillo (SAF), 55.0, b c 2, Pomodoro (SAF) – Miss Wordsworth (SAF) by Lake Coniston (IRE)
3 – Dewali (SAF), 55.0, b c 2, Var (USA) – Festival Of Fire (SAF) by Kahal (GB)
Margins: 0.10, 2.50, 0.50