The Wernars family’s equine warrior Puerto Manzano set himself up for a serious defence of his Betway Summer Cup title at the end of November with a courageous victory in the R1 million Allied Steelrode Onamission Gr2 Charity Mile at Turffontein on Saturday.
Starting at 20-1 and jumping from a challenging 16 gate, things fell into place for the Argentinian-bred galloper who enjoyed the honest pace. Mother Nature then stepped in with a swing in the wind direction, as the run for home turned into a stamina sapping affair into the headwind.
Gavin Lerena was aiming for a personal hat-trick of Charity Mile wins as he ranged up wide out on the 6yo, as Dave The King ran out of puff after skipping at the top of the straight.
Having his first start for Sean Tarry, former Cape hero Cousin Casey unwound a good-looking challenge down the middle of the track, but had no answer for the relentless galloping Argentinian, who lugged in later as he got up to hold Cousin Casey (11-2).
At the line only 0,70 lengths separated the top two, with the winner clocking 98,88 secs.
Enjoy the replay:
Just 1,35 lengths covered the top six, with Sean Tarry’s Bless My Stars (14-1) a further 0,30 lengths back in third, a neck in front of Hollywoodbets Durban July winner Winchester Mansion (7-1).
Going for three on the trot, stablemate to the winner Bingwa (6-1) ran a 1,30 length fifth, marginally ahead of Melech (6-1).
Puerto Manzano has now won 10 races with 9 places from 27 starts for stakes of R4 720 850. He was bred by Dr Ignacio Pavlovsky at Haras Carampangue and is a son of Speightstown’s Gr1 Hollywood Derby winning son Seek Again out of the two-time winning Orpen mare, Poser.
Trainer Johan Janse van Vuuren feels his charge is even better than last season, and will now go straight into the Betway Summer Cup.
There were 43 first entries for the R5 million Betway Summer Cup to be run on 25 November at Turffontein. Only 20 can run. Of the entries, 13 stepped out on Saturday in this race.
Looking ahead, second entries close at 11h00 on Tuesday 31 October 2023.
Final entries close at 09h00 on Monday 13 November 2023. Weights will be published the same day.
Declarations are due by 11h00 on Wednesday 15 November 2023.