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No Battle For The Million

Popular banker comes home with ease

In days of widespread famine for the South African racing industry, the decadent feast of a R1 million maiden plate almost feels like a dash of smack-in-the-face draconian opulence.

But things turned out well for punters when the popular Mike de Kock trained banker and the Sporting Post’s top bet of the day, Battleoftrafalgar charged to victory in the Monaco Million Maiden Plate at Turffontein on Saturday.

The race was first run in 2012 and was sponsored by HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco. The idea was to give  the underdogs an equal footing against the big trainers. Hence the limitation of one runner per yard.

But with some big names associated with the smart Battleoftrafalgar, this was one Saturday an underdog wasn’t getting lucky.

Callan Murray has it under control as Battleoftrafalgar storms to victory ahead of Muzi Yeni and Captain Hindsight (Pic – JC Photos)

With Princess Charlene no longer funding it, the race has been sponsored by trainers and owners through the nomination fee, as well as sponsors organised by Larry Wainstein and Mike Wittstock, father of the Princess. It still seems out of kilter in these times with a major centre like the Cape paying a R43 750 maiden first cheque a half hour later.

The opening leg of the Pick 6 on the International Jockey Challenge day delivered the banker when the stakes placed son of Captain Al, who on paper looked unbeatable subject to fitness after a  22 week rest, was always in control and stormed to victory under Callan Murray for owners John Magnier, Diane Nagle, Mike de Kock and Dave MacLean.

Going off at 11-10, Battleoftrafalgar beat the ever present Captain Hindsight (9-1) by 1,50 lengths in a time of 67,98 secs for the 1160m.

Duchess Of Windsor (25-4) was the first filly home in third, just ahead of Stephen Lerena’s 100-1 shot, Latest Craze.

Cheques were paid all the way down to tenth slot and the KZN raider Elementary (100-1), the mount of Wayne Agrella, walked away with that honour when finishing 7,60 lengths back.

An R800 000 Cape Premier Yearling Sale purchase, Battleoftrafalgar took his earnings to R601 250 with his first win and 3 places from 4 starts.

Bred by Klawervlei Stud, the winner is a son of deceased champion Captain Al (Al Mufti) out of the outstanding six-time winning stakes mare Gibraltar Blue (Rock Of Gibraltar).

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23 comments on “No Battle For The Million

  1. Jonny says:

    There are 2 aspects to this race that I want to discuss.

    Stake Sponsors
    Can I get a signed affirmation from PGL that none of the R1000000 prize money paid by PGL is more than the usual maiden prize money that is made available from the stakes pot? I ask this because in this day and age of horse racing where stakes have declined, we are told that the stakes for the race come from ‘sponsors organised by Larry Wainstein and Mike Wittstock, father of the Princess.’ Most sponsors love to have their names in lights. They claim their contributions as an expense with the taxman. Why are we not told who the sponsors are? Why are we not told of the amount that the sponsors have each sponsored?

    Outrageous extravagance
    I find the amount of money to be offered to maiden runners to be outrageous. It’s more money than stakes available for grade 2 and 3 races. This extravagance is irresponsible. No matter how gracious the sponsors are, this race played into the hands of the de Kock stable. They had a MR98 maiden to ready against other maidens. They prep the horse for this race. They wait. All they need is for the horse to be picked from the draw of all horses entered and Bob’s your uncle. Fair play? Yes. A well executed plan from months ago. It just does not feel right and sit right with me. If this race is to ever be run again, no horse should be allowed to be entered or allowed to run if it has been rested for more than 5 weeks.

  2. Pieta says:

    Must be the first time MR98 maiden winner?

  3. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…Jonny answer this question had you been the owner Battleoftrafalgar would you have made a noise not if but or maybe not a word would have been mentioned…After Battleoftrafalgar ran 3rd in the Nusery did mike already plan to go for the Million Maiden no no no why runcit again twice thereafter,,Yes as it panned out a few months later it was a no brainer to go for the Million not forgetting the last hurdle where much luck was needed to get in so don’t come with that BS that it played in his hands only time it did play into man’s hands when the final draw was done… yes prepping obviously started before hand knowing that they do stand a reasonable chance of getting in…once excepted the result was in the bag…as to a horse not been allowed to take part because it’s been off for longer than 5 weeks it can’t run what BS is that 60% of horses only run again after 5 weeks later…i think you’ve just had a shit day at the office buddy…Well done MDK it was fantastic to hear the commentator say and Battleoftrafalgar is home and so is South Africa’s Banker…14/10 some clever boys managed to burgal…when the final field was announced i was happy to take 4/10 how on earth bookmakers priced Battle up at 12/10 with a MR of 98 in a maiden is a mystery to a good few of us… I thought Christmas comes around once a year Lol

  4. karel says:

    There have been maidens in PE and Cape Town with higher ratings. Ask Steve.

  5. Tracy Low says:

    Race should be for first timers not maidens. Then we will.see some action.

  6. Answersome says:

    Frankie ……Frankie Zackie…..I know you have a lot to say. Please try and get your grammar and spelling correct.

  7. Steve Reid says:

    Karel is spot on. I see this MR as an inflationary thing, give Vee and his team some time and everything 2ill be 100 plus. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

  8. Oscar says:

    Although Jonny is entitled to his opinions. I believe this race was superbly organised.The one million rand stake for maiden horses is a huge boost for horse racing in South Africa.Many new owners will be attracted to the game.
    Furthermore this race added a lot of excitement to the day which also featured the International Jockeys challenge.
    It is not always that a public banker wins in a pick six leg,so well done to the owners ,trainers and punters who won.
    For the others better luck next year.

  9. Rian says:

    Could only have been manufactured in JHB , yes agree Jonny, too many unanswered questions and what’s the poor fellows rating now after winning the richest maiden in Africa .
    Maybe Frankie can tell us !!!! Never have lived with our Cape maidens

  10. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…Jonny maybe there was a few things mentioned where I over reacted about apologies for that I’m in totally agreement with about maidens racing for that kind of cash..Answersome as for as spelling and grammar is concerned nobody is perfect…maybe you should check your spelling before you bark poodle it’s Zackey and not Zackie

  11. Jay August says:

    “what’s the poor fellows rating now after winning the richest maiden in Africa ”

    What should it be Rian?

    PS – Mr Ed check that my previous post (Saturday morning) has not found its way into the junk box or god forbid you deleted it for using a profanity like Illuminati!

  12. Jennifer says:

    I had a smile and good giggle when I saw what Frankie Zackey said in his comment.

    Frankie was enthusiastic to point out that ‘it was fantastic to hear the commentator say and Battleoftrafalgar is home and so is South Africa’s Banker…’.

    I agree with him if the horse was your banker. Taking into account the operator’s 20% take of the gross pool and that after the race, the Pick 6 was paying R1.40, Battleoftrafalgar was certainly not South Africa’s Banker. He must have been the commentator’s banker.

    Even if Battleoftrafalgar was South Africa’s Banker, it was a fat lot of help to South Africa as the P6 and PA helped only a few. The payouts were P6 ☆R 277,144.00 and PA ☆R 626.45. Most South Africans ended the day as losers. Our supposed banker was no respite unless we had backed him and collected on the race.

  13. Rian says:

    Sorry Jay, cant comment on his exact rating as havent had the time to check the ratings of the other maidens.
    One thing i did notice though was that the draw played a huge part in the placing so lets wait and see what you and the Experts come up with, dont have a formula yet

  14. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…let’s help poor Rian out nothing under 90 and not more than 92

  15. Jay August says:

    Rian, the only real competition he had was from the second horse, who will now get a handicap mark after completing three runs, and who had run behind Donderweer (beaten a length) previously. The latter is rated 95 and I cannot see that the winner ran better than that here so he should stay the same..

    There should however be increments to some of the horses running lower down, although outside of them running in a Maiden Handicap their rating is of little consequence (for them) until they crack their maiden.

    We’ll see if the official handicappers’ agree.

  16. Steve Reid says:

    I cant pick up Battleoftrafalga on the NHA site – could someone please inform what the new MR is if it has changed.

    As an aside, seeing that this was a restricted race, I am presuming that stakes earned in this race will not count towards the Trainers title?

  17. Steve Reid says:

    Note to NHA – your search function on Racing Index SA is not functioning correctly – typing in battle and/or Battleoftrafalgar does not produce the expected result. So searching race results produces the info that I was seeking, Please ignore my previous comment and let’s blame it on a dangerous mixture of sleep deprivation and NHA inability to provide accurate information.

    Here’s a genuine question the Karel, Jay and/or anyone keen to educate me on the selection of the correct line horse/s in a race. In the million the line horse chosen is Aalsmeer, a 3 time runner who has finished 12,6; 2; and 11,5 lengths behind in its races. Significantly the best run a 2 length 5th over the course and distance of Saturdays race is her best. However when compared with the winner or runner-ups form, it in my opinion, does not compare. My question is why was this filly chosen as the line horse? Are we looking for the “right” horse to justify the ratings?

    1. karel says:

      Steve,
      I have not been involved in the rating of this race.
      SP used the winner as the pivot, with the rating of his previous two runs (when second and fourth, both rated AR 88 with us) – even though the horse returned from a long break.
      It’s not an easy race to rate.
      Our Rule is: when in doubt, go conservative!
      Rating too low is easily corrected, rating too high poisons the well and gives endless hassles to correct.
      I don’t think I would have used the unproven rating of Aalsmeer (beaten 5 lengths in a sprint is a bit much), but I have not given this race a lot of thought.
      There are better things to do.

  18. Rod Mattheyse says:

    Normal Restricted races only not considered for Stallion Stats – the reason is that every owner and trainer has the chance to buy at the various sales – I am not sure about this one – would be strange if included

  19. Rod Mattheyse says:

    Interestingly the current stats don’t reflect the Monaco Million Maiden as a restricted race – perhaps that’s right, everyone can enter and lucky draw to get in?

  20. Steve Reid says:

    Rod I should have had a bet – https://www.sportingpost.co.za/2019/07/nha-restricted-races-policy/

    Now the interesting thing here is that this race is not listed as a restricted race because it did not exist when the restricted race list was compiled. My thoughts are that it should not count towards the trainers championship due to the conditions that make it a restricted race of sorts.

  21. Steve Reid says:

    Karel thanks for your response. Whilst it may seem trivial, one of the major problems I have with the MR system is the selection of the line horse/s as getting this incorrect has major implications in regard to horses ratings. Let’s see how this works out in time – no use flogging a dead horse.

  22. Rod Mattheyse says:

    Ok thanks got it wrong –

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