Anton Marcus rode his second hat-trick of the weekend and a typically confident race as the Trippi filly Beloved Country ran her opposition off their feet to win the R120 000 African Holly Handicap at Scottsville on Sunday in a fast time for the 1000m.
Marcus started 2016 with a bang and the first three days of the new year saw him notch up seven winners on three different racecourses.
The 2014 Listed Devon Air Stakes winner Beloved Country may not have reached the heights predicted for her during her 3yo term but she was having only her 13TH start when scooting home to register her first success at Scottsville and disposing of a small but quality bunch in the non black-type feature.
The talented Muscatt, who has had a few trainers during a distinguished career, ran a decent race after a 17 week break to chase the winner home, beaten just 0,25 lengths after challenging strongly late in the race.
Miss Varlicious stayed on for third a further two lengths back.
the 17-20 shot Beloved Country came out well tuned by trainer Charles Laird and won in a decent time of 56,79 secs.
The track record is the 55,96 secs set by Captain Of All on 29 March 2014 when beating Rich Girl in a Pinnacle Stakes.
Beloved Country was bred by Klawervlei Stud and is a daughter of Trippi out of the very fast Australian bred, Uber Rock, who won three races here.
Beloved Country was sold for R600 000 on the Cape Premier Yearling Book 1.
On a day that saw the Jackpot pay in excess of R50 000 and the Pick 6 carried over, the biggest result arrived in the sixth race when the Mike Pappas-trained Highland Fling bolted home at 110-1 under Eric Ngwane.
The 7yo had not won for close on 2 years (also over the course and distance) and he was the yard’s first winner this term. They only saddled two winners last season.
Corinne Bestel made a welcome return to the winner’s enclosure two races later when the Fort Wood filly She’s A Fortress improved to shed her maiden at her third outing. The Clifton Stud product was ridden by Athandiwe Mgudlwa.
The Pick 3 with Highland Fling as the opener and She’s A Fortress in the third leg paid over R13 000!