Mike de Kock got punters off to a flying start on the Rising Sun Gold Challenge raceday at Greyville on Saturday when Sheikh Hamdan’s Australian home-bred 2yo Firdoas was an easy winner of the R150 000 Listed Devon Air Stakes.
Enjoying the step up in trip to the 1400m, Firdoas won unpressured at short odds-on under Randall Simons to signal her SA Champions Season aspirations – with a possible tilt at the Gr2 Golden Horseshoe at the same venue in July on the radar.
After being slightly unsettled in the starting gates and having her third start after winning at Turffontein last time, Firdoas was relaxed in midfield as All Of Me and Che Bella carted them along.
They were eased up in midfield and the ensuing sprint for home suited the De Kock runner down to the ground.She ran on powerfully hold off the late challenge of Tobie Spies runner Mazari (Bold Silvano) by 0.75 lengths in a time of 86.16 secs.
On The Double (Twice Over) also did her best work late and ran a further 1,25 lengths back in third.
A winner of 2 of her 3 starts with 1 place, Firdoas took her earnings to R181 375.
She is bred for more and is out of Darley stallion Bernardini (A P Indy) out of Azwa (Haafhd), a twice winning half-sister to one-time stablemate Mujaarib (Nadeem) who numbered the 2012 Gr2 Charity Mile and the 2014 Gr2 Al Rashidiya amongst his wins.
Crowned Eclipse Champion three-year-old, Bernardini was an outstanding racehorse, successful in the Gr3 Withers Stakes at his third start, before winning the Gr1 Preakness Stakes. This win set the wheels in motion for a historic Gr1 treble as he followed up with victories in the Travers Stakes and the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
Bernardini has sired 14 Gr1 winners. He led the American second-crop sire list in 2011 and the American third-crop sire list in 2012 and was ninth on the American general sire list in 2016.