The winning winter duo of jockey Morne Winnaar and Paarl-based trainer Glen Kotzen maintained their seasonal red-hot strike rate with the Varsfontein-bred Third Runway holding on long enough to win the R125 000 Listed Irridescence Stakes at Kenilworth on Saturday.
Winnaar, who started off his career riding many winners for the Joey Ramsden team, has blown hot and cold at times, but he appears to have found his niche riding for the Woodhill Racing Team.
And the 2yo fillies feature was a tactical victory for the Kotzen coupling, with S’manga Khumalo taking the initiative on Elusive Flight, who set the fractions ahead of Third Runway and Driving Miss Daisy.
Into the straight, Elusive Flight continued to gallop but Winnaar had her in his sights and finding the lead at the right time, he kept his mount beautifully balanced and rode her all the way to the wire to hold off the flying SP top-rated Driving Miss Daisy by a head in a time of 94,91 secs.
The favourite Drama Queen – who should be better over further – came out of the pack late for third, with the pacemaker holding on for fourth.
The beautifully bred Sanskrift appeared to go wrong in running and was pulled up by Greg Cheyne.
Bred by Varsfontein, the winner is by Gimmethegreenlight (More Than Ready) out of the Black Minnaloushe mare, Outrage.
A R200 000 National Yearling Sale graduate, Third Runway has won 2 races with 1 place from 4 starts for stakes of R132 275.
The going was ‘near perfect’ on the day in the words of veteran Tellytrack presenter Stan Elley, who confirmed that in the 24 hours prior to the start of the meeting, only 1 mm of rain had fallen.
Stipes report excerpt:
Jockey D Dillon was charged with a contravention of Rule 58.10.2 (read with Guideline M on the use of the crop) in that he used his crop more than 12 times during the race whilst riding the horse DRIVING MISS DAISY. Jockey D Dillon signed an admission of guilt and was fined R1,000.00.
Jockey G Cheyne (SANSKRIFT) reported that he felt something amiss with this filly and she was eased out of the race at the top of the straight. The Veterinary Surgeon was requested to examine the filly on her return to the unsaddling enclosure and submit a report. In view of the Veterinary report, Trainer Mrs C Bass-Robinson will be advised that this filly is suspended indefinitely in terms of Rule 93.1, and until a full Veterinary report regarding SANSKRIFT is submitted to the satisfaction of the Stipendiary Board.