Working Class Heroes!

Million Dollar magic by hometown combo sets Kenilworth alight

A terrific advert for racehorse ownership and a remarkable hometown victory for the working classes had the champagne corks popping at the inaugural running of the CTS Million Dollar on the Investec Day Of Dreams at Kenilworth on Saturday. The race was called in exemplary fashion by visiting UK race-caller Richard Hoiles.


Glory day! The Illuminator team celebrate a memorable moment (Pic – Wayne Marks)

Talking about keeping the money at home! And what a race for anybody who feels that racing has become a rich man’s game, dominated by wealthy men in suits and big powerful yards with telephone number buying power.

That sentiment was put to the sword by a small Milnerton-based operation, a low-key hardworking young apprentice jockey and a pair of ‘working class’ owners, who invested the best R180 000 they could ever dream of, when lashing out to buy a Trippi colt at the 2014 Cape Premier Yearling Sale Book 2.

Former jockey and a member of a famous Cape racing family, Glen Puller, who has been training since 1994, celebrated the biggest day of his racing career when saddling Illuminator, who won a cracker when flying up the wide outside under 23 year old  apprentice Heavelon ‘Heavy’ Van Der Hoven.

Van Der Hoven only rode two winners last season and has notched up a vastly improved 8 this term, with a rather ordinary strike rate of 6%. But judged on today’s ice cool exhibition, as he switched his mount out wide at the 400m, he deserves to be riding much better horses.

“It is my third horse and we are really ordinary small-time working-class owners,” said Scotland-born co-owner Francis Carruthers, when contacted by the Sporting Post after the race. He owns the history-making winner in partnership with Ian Robinson.

“We are thrilled and it hasn’t quite sunk in yet. We were happy to have Heavelon on board after Weichong Marwing cried off ill, as the youngster has won twice on him already. We couldn’t be too confident as there were some decent horses in the race. What a feeling!” he said.

Illuminator wins CTS Million Dollar

Illuminator puts his head into the pic as Aldo Domeyer (Silver Mountain) and MJ Byleveld (Victorious Jay) look on in amazement. (Pic- Wayne Marks)

The race, for 3yo’s and restricted to eligible graduates of the 2014 Cape Premier Yearling Sale held on 23 and 24 January 2014 and the 2014 CTS March Yearling Sale held on 22 and 23 March 2014, attracted a maximum field of sixteen, and included Gr1 and Gr2 winners.

Cape Fillies Guineas sensation Silver Mountain was backed into favouritism, and looked a winner as she stormed through from a far handier position than usual, at the 200m, and shrugged off a determined Victorious Jay.

Garth Puller and brother Glen

Glen Puller (right) and brother Garth – a massive day for the family

But the young Van Der Hoven was riding for his life and he got Illuminator home by 0,75 lengths in a  time of 86,21 secs to a massive roar from the crowd.

And what a lovely touch to see Glen Puller’s celebrated former champion jockey brother Garth hug him and plant a kiss on his forehead at the lead-in.

The stakes were converted at a rate of 16,785 and the winner thus banked a hefty R8 392 500.

Second placed Silver Mountain, beaten with every chance,  took home R3 357 0000, with third finisher Victorious Jay paid R2 517 750.

Fourth placed Seventh Plain, had the draw to overcome but earned R1 678 500, while even the fancied KZN challenger Exit Here didn’t go home empty handed in fifth with R671 400 earned for the Fire Racing Trust and Markus Jooste.

Bought at the 2014 Cape Premier Yearling Sale for just R180 000, Illuminator took his earnings to an unbelievable R8 526 875.

Illuminator, a son of Trippi (what a day for him!) is out of the five-time winning Al Mufti mare, Pacific Lights.

He was bred by Klawervlei Stud and was registering his third win, with two places, from six starts.

Cape Thoroughbred Sales have just wound up a highly successful Cape Premier Yearling Sale at the CTICC, so buyers eager to source potential graduates for the next series of richly endowed incentive races will home in on the upcoming March Yearling Sale.

That will be staged at Durbanville on the 19th and 20th March 2016 – expect Messrs Puller, Carruthers and Robinson to be attending with broad smiles and a humble sense of knowing that racing fantasies can come true….

What a happy story for ordinary folk!



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