Today’s Turffontein feature race honours the memory of one of the greatest horses to grace the turf in this country.
Despite his 20 wins from 24 lifetime starts, SA Champion 2yo and 3yo titles and dual Horse Of The Year accolades, Sea Cottage is probably most famously remembered as the favourite that was shot three weeks before the 1966 Durban July Handicap.
Approaching that year’s race with 11 wins from 12 starts, he a ‘racing certainty’. Bookmaker Sonny Chislett stood to lose his shirt if the horse won and in conjunction with Monaco Club proprietor Monty Labuschagne, hatched a plan to ‘stop’ the colt.
Local henchman Johnny Nel was hired and on the morning of 10 June 1966, he took aim from a concrete shelter on the Blue Lagoon bridge, hitting the star in the hindquarter.
With the bullet lodged beyond the reach of veterinary instruments, there was not much that could be done, but the horse made such a remarkable recovery, that he resumed training and took his place in the July field three weeks later. Sea Cottage put up a courageous effort but, badly hampered at the 400m mark, he finished something of an unlucky 4th.
When Sea Cottage returned to the scene of his defeat at Hollywoodbets Greyville as a 4yo on 1 July 1967, he was set to concede his nearest market rival, the year younger Jollify, nearly two stone. But he wore the youngster down and got up to dead-heat in what is still the most talked about finish to the great race.
The Gr3 Sea Cottage Stakes heads a nine race programme on the Turffontein inside track – the first is off at 12h45.
The going is recorded as good to soft.
The false rail is set at 2m on the back straight to 5m on the bend with a 6m spur at the 500m mark.
The weather is forecast as mostly cloudy with a 60% chance of showers.
First timer / rested horses comments:
1 12:45 – ITSARUSH.CO.ZA WELCOMES YOU MAIDEN PLATE
3 RED ADMIRAL J A Soma: Bad draw, should need the run
14 SUNNY SIDE UP P A Peter: Could place
2 13:20 – ALL TO COME MAIDEN PLATE (F & M)
9 LIL GREEN GRETNA D Nieuwenhuizen: Will be green
3 13:55 – BOOK FOR MET IN JOZI 1 FEBRUARY FM 84 HANDICAP (F & M)
2 ELUSIVE BUTTERFLY M N Houdalakis: No comment given
6 15:40 – SA DERBY 4 APRIL FM 78 DIVIDED HANDICAP (F & M)
6 STELLAR MOTION C Dawson: Will need the run
7 16:15 – SEA COTTAGE STAKES (Grade 3)
8 PAX ROMANA P A Peter: Could place
- Comments by Phumelela Publishing