Just eight days after SA Triple Tiara champion War Of Athena’s Gr1 Woolavington 2000 victory, Gauteng trainer Paul Matchett and his high-riding owners Roy Wentzel and Dr Rose Waterman-Wentzel clinched another top level success as Battle Force won a dramatic and hotly contested Gr1 Golden Horse Sprint at Hollywoodbets Scottsville on Sunday.
There were nailbiting moments for the connections as Battle Force first cast a front shoe on the way to the start and while being re-shod, cast a hind shoe.
He also raced with one nail in one of his front shoes.
It was finally decided to remove both hind shoes.
“He was a handful and we thought he may be scratched” conceded Roy Wentzel. “But Paul, to his credit, knows the horse well and suggested he run without the shoes.”
Craig Zackey had to waste all the way down to 52kgs and said that he ridden at that level for at least four years.
“I had to lose 5kg in a week,” chirped the elated rider, who rode a powerful and beautifully balanced race to get the 16-1 shot up to nab Eden Roc (14-1) late. The winning margin was 0,25 lengths with a time recorded of 68,61 secs,
In an accolade to the much maligned handicappers, under two lengths covered the first seven runners home. The 4-1 favourite MK’s Pride was 0,30 lengths back in third, with Captain Tatters (25-1)
A model of consistency, Battle Force was 2,5kgs under sufferance in the official ratings despite carrying joint bottom weight but the gelding was still under the radar as far as the handicap was concerned.
He had received the maximum of eight points for each of his last two wins, but it could have been more.
Bred by Summerhill, Battle Force was registering his first graded race victory and provided his freshman sire Act Of War with his second Gr1 win in a week.
A 2019 BSA KZN Yearling Sale graduate, Battle Force was offered by Rathmor as agent and Roy Wentzel paid R130 000 for the gallant gelding who has now won 6 races with 5 places from 12 starts for stakes of R617 750.
Battle Force is out of the unraced Elusive City mare Mataalb.