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.
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).