The R750 000 Gr1 Tsogo Sun Gold Medallion at Scottsville on Saturday turned into a memorable race for Avontuur GM Pippa Mickleburgh and her team.
Their international stakes producing stallion Oratorio opened his South African Gr1 account with a top two finish in the prestigious 2yo 1200m feature.
The triple Gr1 winning son of Danehill, imported with a view to produce classic and Met and July winners, has set the world alight and stamped his class with his 2yo’s showing precocity and speed and enjoying a terrific season.
The sire of fifty plus stakes winners worldwide had two runners in a typically high-class renewal of the Gold Medallion, and even though Van Halen and the previously unbeaten stakes winner Cue The Music may have finished in the ‘wrong order’ for many punters, it was a notable afternoon for the Cape breeders.
Gunter Wrogemann had the Dennis Bosch trained Cue The Music (a half-brother to champion Val De Ra) showing the way out front and Mario Ferreira’s smart colt looked to have down enough inside the final 200m as he shook off the threats.
But Craig Zackey, bidding for his fourth Gr1 win, was having nothing of it and he sent Van Halen to chase the leader, in much the same fashion as Mark Khan in the Allan Robertson forty minutes earlier.
A slightly awkward ride, Van Halen got to Cue The Music inside the 50m. But the latter came right back and the photograph of the two Oratorio’s going head to head is bound to find a place at the famous farm, as Van Halen got the nod on the wire to win by a quarter length in a time of 68,30 secs.
Joburg challenger Chimichuri Run stayed on for third a further 1,75 lengths back, with Goliath Heron in fourth.
Brett Crawford’s Traces lugged inwards late (he has only one eye) when looking dangerous and finished just out of the money.
Trained by Tobie Spies, Van Halen has won 2 races with 3 places from 7 starts for stakes of R601 125. He was a R100 000 graduate at the 2017 Cape Premier Yearling Sale.
Van Halen was bred by Limpo Retail and is out of the one-time winner Rock Concert. The latter, a daughter of Lecture, is a full-sister to another Spies-trained star in Rock Opera, who is out of Drummer Girl (Al Mufti). This family has served the Spies’ well and the latter was unbeaten in South Africa, winning the Gr2 SA Nursery and the Gr1 Allan Robertson Championship- on this very day!
Exported to Dubai, she placed third in the Listed UAE Guineas for the late Sheik Rashid.
At stud, Rock Opera produced the 11-time winner Heavy Metal (GB) by Exceed and Excel, whose successes included a Gr2 in the UK. He ran in Saturday’s Godolphin Mile.
Gr1 Tsogo Sun Gold Medallion (SAf-Gr1)
Scottsville, South Africa, May 26, R750k, 1200m, turf, good, 1.08.03
1 – VAN HALEN (SAF), 60.0, b g 2, Oratorio (IRE) – Rock Concert (SAF) by Lecture (USA). Owner Messrs F N Englezakis, R P Macnab, A Pawson & F van Wyk; Breeder Limpo Retail; trainer T Spies; jockey C Zackey
2 – Cue The Music (SAF), 60.0, b c 2, Oratorio (IRE) – Minelli (SAF) by Elliodor (FR)
3 – Chimichuri Run (SAF), 60.0, ch c 2, Trippi (USA) – Spiced Gold (SAF) by Kahal (GB)
Margins: 0.25, 1.75, 2.50