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St John’s Colt Bears His Summer Plans

Gray's shows how the damage is done

The R1 million World Sports Betting Gauteng Summer Cup landscape changed complexion in just under two minutes at Turffontein on Saturday.

Trainer St John Gray strengthened his big race claims and saddled his home-bred Christopher Robin for a fluent maiden graded stakes success in the R125 000 Gr3 Victory Moon Stakes.

The last chance saloon for the Gauteng flagship handicap on 28 November, the Victory Moon Stakes provided a minor upset as the 4yo son of Damage Is Done, who was not in the top twenty of the final race log published earlier this week, leapfrogged his way into contention with an emphatic strike under a balanced left-handed ride from the in-form S’manga ‘Bling’ Khumalo.

Christopher Robin charges home under S’manga Khumalo (Pic – JC Photos)

Tracking the leaders Orpheus, Snow Palace and Seven Patriots all the way around, Christopher Robin (8-1) maintained his smooth approach into his date with Gr1 destiny later this month, when he moved up smartly at the 300m and easily withstood the challenge of the more fancied Astrix (15-4) to win readily by 2,50 lengths in a time of 112,35 secs.

Sean Tarry would have been happier with his slightly frustrating smart filly Victoria Paige (15-4), who stayed on well enough late into third a further 1,25 lengths back. She was at 19th on the log.

The winner’s stablemate Dance Class (5-1) got the better of a brief duel with the Corne Spies-trained Imperial Ruby (25-1)to secure fourth. The Spies stayer was at 18th on the log before Saturday.

The top ten are all Summer Cup hopefuls, with the pacesetting Orpheus fading badly and surely an unlikely runner on 28 November after being reported not striding out left front.

In a sad week for SA racing, St John Gray dedicated the victory to the honour of the memory of two late stalwarts of the local racing scene in Romeo Francis and Peter White.

The veteran owner-trainer-breeder labelled the winner ‘the Iron Horse’ and conceded that S’manga Khumalo and his agent Monty Mariemuthoo have some decisions to make `as regards their Summer Cup options of going with Alec Laird’s smart ex-Glen Kotzen  charge Pack Leader, or to stick with Christopher Robin.

St John Gray last won the Summer in 2011 with champion mare Dancewithhedevil. He also saddled the 2018 runner-up Dawn Assault.

Bling salutes as Christopher Robin returns to a deserted winner’s enclosure (Pic – JC Photos)

A winner of 6 races with 11 places from 26 starts for stakes of R497 825, Christopher Robin is a son of the inactive Rakeen stallion Damage Is Done, who won 4 races from 1600-2000m, before being injured.

The female line has produced champions Politician, Al Nitak and The Sheik but Damage Is Done got very limited opportunities at stud.

Christopher Robin is out of the five-time winning Malhub mare, Onehundredacrewood – who only won up to 1200m.

WSB Gauteng Summer Cup final entries close at 11h00 on, with declarations 24 hours later.

We will know the composition of the final field on Tuesday.

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9 comments on “St John’s Colt Bears His Summer Plans

  1. John Mynhardt says:

    A 10 lengths reverse with the form from 2 weeks ago against Seven Patriots ? Then obviously Seven Patriots ran way below par, was difficult at the stalls, pulling for about 1000m and more. Thus this run from Seven Patriots be best ignored by the handicappers & the powers that be (had a lot of excuses). My point is this. If Christopher Robin gets into the Summer Cup, obviously Seven Patriots also will be in ? Or are decisions going to be made on a single run ? I also feel any horse entered into a Mayor Feature race in SA must race at least once within 3 month prior to the race… how will the punters know the well being of horses if we don’t bring in a rule like this ?

  2. Leo Murfin says:

    Hi Mr Ed, A completey unrelated question? After Frosted Gold’s victory yesterday reminded of Twilight Moon, who was Frosted Gold’s nemesis last season ? Does anyone know what happened to him as I believe he would have turned out to be a real classic contender this season !
    Thanks !!!

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Leo
      He was exported to Hong Kong.
      Races for Tony Millard under new name of Super Dobbin.
      Ran unplaced on Wednesday at Happy Valley behind Lobo’s Legend.
      He has run a couple of places there

  3. Hello Mr. Ed

    Perhaps you can assist , what happened to 2017 filly Say Goodbye by Silvano 2019 BSA 2yr Sale?

    1. Editor says:

      No records of her having raced, Loraine

  4. Donald Bradshaw says:

    St. John , 90 % an outright owner / trainer / breeder with unfashionable stallions yet just have a look at the owners / trainers log in which he is in the top 5 and his record over the past many years !

    This is a more than remarkable achievement and I always marvel at this fact when trainers complain that they own 20 % of the horses in their yard either outright or partially ?

  5. Leo says:

    Thank you Ed

  6. Geoffrey Graaf says:

    Geoffrey Graaf.
    I read Sporting Post most evenings while I have my sundown drinkies.
    It is a pleasant read,on par with wombles of Wimbledon, Thomas the Tank, and Noddy & Big ears. Not as good as Marvel Comics (but what is ?
    Speaking of N & BE, I see Milko has thrown his hat back in the ring.Rumour is he has been seen at the U I F Having been last carded for watering N & BE’s milk thus spoiling their evening Tiffin.
    Milko you are a professional and erudite man lets have some serious comment not your puerile drivel.
    John Keats ” A thing of beauty is a joy forever” And Wanky Frankie
    Zackey (with a y ) You are exactly the above. Your comments are always 99 percent correct ,true, and relevant. You should be rewarded for educating the hoi polloi. Perhaps a Statue at Bruma (whenever that is)
    The 1 percent I take issue with you is your assessment of young Ferraris as S A’ greatest ever T ‘N Coff. I grant you that he is superior to B & A Marcus ,Striker Delpo Dooogie W and the late great Bert A, but maybe a month or 2 to catch the Muis.
    G H-J always bleating always moaning always criticizing .Never a constructive word. You must have a terrible home life. Does your wife beat you ?

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