Jockey Marco van Rensburg has a knack of producing the big race body blows and the former citizen of Sasolburg knocked the stuffing out of the Turffontein Pick 6 for many punters when he produced longshot Zouaves with a well-timed effort from a poor draw to win the R400 000 Gr2 Hawaii Stakes.
Van Rensburg, who turns 36 next month, put all of his years of experience to good use when he allowed Zouaves time to drop in and catch his breath from the worst of the draw, as Captain Aldo and Arabian Beat carted them along at a nice pace.
Turning for home, Zouaves only had three behind him as Randall Simons pulled the trigger early on the popular favourite Soqrat , who swept into the lead just inside the 400m as stablemate Cascapedia also looked dangerous.
With Cascapedia appearing to lug in and cause some chaos behind her, the De Kock pair rushed to the line as Van Rensburg produced Zouaves with a great effort.
At the wire Zouaves was going best of the three and the 5yo gelding got the nod by 0,30 lengths in a time of 83.75 secs.
Soqrat would have disappointed his legion of supporters as he dropped out of the Bipot and the Pick 6, but was not disgraced and may well have gone closer with a marginally more patient ride.
Trained by Geoff Woodruff, the diminutive Danika Stud-bred Zouaves was a R225 000 purchase off the CTS 2015 Emperors Palace Johannesburg Premier Yearling Sale.
He is a son of the ill-fated Sail From Seattle (Gone West) out of the one-time winner, Zayna (Jallad).
Zouaves took his win tally to 7 with 9 places from 21 starts.
He has earned R888 475 and with this confidence booster, could go on with even bigger fish to fry.
Gr2 Hawaii Stakes (SAf-Gr2)
Turffontein, South Africa, March 2, R400k, 1400m, turf, good, 1.23.75
1 – ZOUAVES (SAF), 58.0, b g 5, Sail From Seattle (USA) – Zayna (SAF) by Jallad (USA). Owner Mesdames A Devachander & C Woodruff; Breeder Danika Stud; trainer GV Woodruff; jockey M v Rensburg
2 – Cascapedia (IRE), 56.5, b m 5, High Chaparral (IRE) – Janoubi (GB) by Dansili (GB)
3 – Soqrat (AUS), 57.0, b c 3, Epaulette (AUS) – Elzeeza (AUS) by Hussonet (USA)
Margins: 0.30, 0.20, 1.10