The Nassif and Zackey family’s favourite grey flyer Mardi Gras bounced back from a 27 week break and underlined his enormous ability and class when winning the R350 000 Gr2 Merchants at Turffontein on Saturday.
It was a superb race for Avontuur’s internationally proven stallion Oratorio – the son of Danehill sired first, third and fourth in a memorable contest and showed again that he can sire stakes winners over sprints and ground.
Having his first run for the Sean Tarry team, who saddled the exacta, the 2019 Gr2 Senor Santa Stakes winner Mardi Gras was beautifully conserved early in the running as KZN raider Ultra Magnus and the winner’s stablemate Warrior’s Rest cut out the early fractions.
Racing on the wide outside, Gavin Lerena let the big grey go at the 200m and the 5yo charged clear to a popular victory by 2,25 lengths in a time of 66,04 secs.
His stablemate Warrior’s Rest (14-1) stayed on stoutly for second, ahead of the flying Van Halen with Ultra Magnus hanging on to fourth.
Originally the joint top-seller at R3,2 million at the 2016 Emperors Palace Select Yearling Sale, Mardi Gras changed hands following the Mayfair Speculators unbundling.
Bred by Avontuur, he is a son of champion racehorse Oratorio (Danehill) out of the classy Gr1 winner Sarabande, a powerful daughter of Goldmark, who won six races in the care of Joey Ramsden from a mile to 2000m.
Mardi Gras has won 7 races with 6 places from 16 starts for stakes of R930 037.
He could be set for a big season!
Gr2 Merchants (SAf-Gr2)
Turffontein, South Africa, November 30, R350k, 1160m, turf, good, 1.06.04
1 – MARDI GRAS (SAF), 57.0, gr g 5, Oratorio (IRE) – Sarabande (SAF) by Goldmark (SAF). Owner Messrs L & W Zackey, G J Nassif, J Nassif & Z L Nassif; Breeder Avontuur Farm; trainer SG Tarry; jockey G Lerena
2 – Warrior’s Rest (SAF), 54.0, b g 5, What A Winter (SAF) – Bardot (SAF) by Badger Land (USA)
3 – Van Halen (SAF), 60.0, b g 4, Oratorio (IRE) – Rock Concert (SAF) by Lecture (USA)
Margins: 2.25, 0.25, 1.00