Just three weeks after winning his first Gr1 race in eight years since a comeback to the saddle, the evergreen former SA Champion jockey Mark Khan snared another prized trophy.
The veteran steered the Pathfork filly Mighty High to a sensational victory in the R750 000 Gr1 Allan Robertson Championship at Scottsville on Saturday.
The recent Vaal longshot debut winner is trained by Johan Janse van Vuuren and races in the interests of top owners Braam van Huyssteen and the Wernars family, in what was a momentous victory for both.
Van Huyssteen celebrated his personal first Gr1 victory when Legal Eagle (who he bought second hand from Mayfair Speculators) won the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate in January. And the Wernars’ marked their maiden Gr1 when Khan piloted Hero’s Honour to victory in the SA Derby on Champions Day.
In a ‘Mighty High’ all round, the R120 000 National Yearling Sale graduate was a first Gr1 victory for Highlands’ Distorted Humor stallion Pathfork, who transfers to Sandown Stud this coming season in an exciting partnership.
Mark Khan had the 12-1 Mighty High at the rear as the speed up front saw six of them running abreast.
Despite being squeezed out and having to switch to the outside for a clear run, Mighty High showed a terrific turn of foot as she took off to fetch Celtic Sea inside the 200m.
When she clicked into gear it was race over and she stormed away to win by a half length in a time of 68,30 secs.
Gauteng stakes winner Celtic Sea stayed on for second ahead of another stakes scorer in Inverroche, with Cape challenger Canukeepitsecret holding fourth after looking dangerous into the final 300m..
Bred by Maine Chance, Mighty High is a daughter of Pathfork out of the Shamardal mare, Bold Nimph.
Unbeaten in two starts, Mighty High’s earnings bounded past her R120 000 purchase price to R534 375. She also benefitted from the R154 000 BSA Added Value Stakes Bonus.
An Irish Champion Two-Year-Old, Pathfork brings the best of American pedigrees, strengthened through Sadler’s Wells’ influence in Europe. and one of the best sire producing lines available, to mares in South Africa.
Pathfork was the highest rated 2yo in Ireland in 2010 and one of the top 5 in the world. He was undefeated in 3 races as a juvenile with an official Timeform Rating of 120.
His dam is a 3-part sister to Spinning World (TFR 130 – sire of Gr1’s in UK & Australasia) and Sagara (TFR 124).
This is the sire producing female line of Redoute’s Choice, El Gran Senor, Northern Guest, etc.
Pathfork caught the eye at the Highlands Stallion Parade on Friday evening and this Gr1 success, together with a change of scenery to the long established Armitage family-owned Sandown Stud for the new season, can see him being a popular order.
Gr1 Allan Robertson Championship (SAf-Gr1)
Scottsville, South Africa, May 26, R750k, 1200m, turf, good, 1.08.03
1 – MIGHTY HIGH (SAF), 60.0, b f 2, Pathfork (USA) – Bold Nimph (AUS) by Shamardal (USA). Owner Messrs A J van Huyssteen & J F & L M F Wernars; Breeder Maine Chance; trainer JAJ v Vuuren; jockey M Khan
2 – Celtic Sea (SAF), 60.0, b f 2, Captain Al (SAF) – Ireland (BRZ) by Mark Of Esteem (IRE)
3 – Inverroche (SAF), 60.0, b f 2, Ideal World (USA) – National Sensation (SAF) by National Assembly (CAN)
Margins: 0.50, 1.25, 2.00