‘The Jagermeister bottle was going to be injured down Mauritius way!’
The words of thrilled Vaal trainer Lucky Houdalakis after a superb training feat saw the holidaying Keith and Gail Waterston’s Mr Flood return from a 417 day break to win the R200 000 Gr3 Lebelo Sprint at Turffontein on Saturday.
Out of action as a result of knee chip operations on both knees, the Pathfork gelding had looked more than decent winning three of his first five starts but Houdalakis told ‘more than 100 people’, his charge couldn’t win.
“I know what I have done with him – he couldn’t win this. And this is the last kind of race you want to come back in. Marco van Rensburg rode a cracker – I told him to keep him balanced if he gets tired. Keith and Gail Waterston are holidaying in Mauritius – I’m sure the ‘Jagies’ will be flowing! I’m glad we made the decision to have the operations. Good horses tend to pay one’s patience back,” said the former jockey who recalled the legendary JJ The Jet Plane as one horse who had surprised him in similar fashion.
Showing terrific pace but looking beaten as he was overwhelmed by the smart Oravar and a flying Winter Storm going into the final 300m, Mr Flood (13-2) dug deep to find a second wind and went on to score by 0,75 lengths in a time of 56,03 secs.
Winter Storm (18-1) flew late to grab second away from Oravar (12-1), with Romi’s Boy (33-1) boosting the quartet in fourth.
Winning rider Marco van Rensburg said he had galloped Mr Flood at the Vaal and that had ‘opened my eyes’.
“It’s a super training feat and well done to the Waterstons. They haven’t always been fans of mine but it’s nice to ride their best horse,” he laughed.
Bred by Willempie Engelbrecht Jnr, the winner is a son of Ridgemont Highlands sire Pathfork (Distorted Humor) out of the three-time winning Jallad mare, Last Word Pam.
A winner of 4 of his 6 starts with 1 place, Mr Flood has a bright future and with R316 174 in the bank he is already great value for his R50 000 BSA 2017 Cape Yearling Sale price tag.
Gr3 Lebelo Sprint (SAf-Gr3)
Turffontein, South Africa, December 28, R200k, 1000m, turf, good, 56.03
1 – MR FLOOD (SAF), 54.0, b g 4, Pathfork (USA) – Last Word Pam (SAF) by Jallad (USA). Owner Mr K A Waterston; Breeder WJ Engelbrecht Jnr; trainer M Houdalakis; jockey M v Rensburg
2 – Winter Storm (SAF), 52.0, ch g 4, What A Winter (SAF) – Sierra Lily (SAF) by National Emblem (SAF)
2 – Oravar (SAF), 53.0, b g 5, Oratorio (IRE) – Miravar (SAF) by Var (USA)
Margins: 0.75, 0.50, d/h