Faster than Twitter

Valdivia wins strelitzia

Lightning Fast! Anton Marcus poses on Valdivia as they win the Gr3 Strelitzia Stakes.

It sure pays to follow the smart money! Powerhouse speed stallion Var, the home of world-class wine and fast horses, Avontuur Stud, and Cape trainer Vaughan Marshall, collectively celebrated the Gr3 double at Clairwood today.

Scrupulously honest, extremely fast and wonderful value for your rand. And we haven’t even had a sip of their great wine! That just about sums up the progeny of Avontuur’s favourite son, Var, who made the baby silverware their very own at Clairwood on Easter Sunday.

The R150 000 Gr3 Strelitzia Stakes proved a walk in the park for the Var filly Valdivia who was never troubled to win at prohibitive odds of 1-5. While this  feature, not uncharacteristically for this time of the year, lacked any genuine depth with only four winners and three maidens facing the starter, the manner of her win could hardly be faulted. Jockey Anton Marcus, who rode three winners on the afternoon,  paid Valdivia a huge compliment by adding that he ‘had not been this fast on a juvenile in a long time.’

Bruce Lin paid just R100 000 for the Avontuur bred on the National Sale, and with the Bloodstock SA added owner bonus of R32 500 thrown into the winning stake of R93 750,she is looking like a blue-chip bargain investment at this point. The Vaughan Marshall-trained filly had won her only previous start at Kenilworth by six lengths and was saddled by assistant trainer Adele Alsop.

twitter wins godolphin barb

Follow Me! Sean Cormack steers Twitter to a great win in the Gr3 Godolphin Barb.

The R150 000 Gr3 Godolphin Barb Stakes was a similar cakewalk, just at better odds this time, for the same stallion, trainer and breeder.  King’s Jet made the pace a cracker against the outside rail but Sean Cormack never gave him an inch and he gave the cleverly name Twitter his head at the 250m marker and it was all over as a contest.  The R600 000 purchase favourite Indaba My Children, plodded into second but may need further, while  Ivan Moore’s mobile  ATM My Jelly Bean soldiered into third.

Twitter had won his second start at Kenilworth but the form came into question after the second horse that day, Albert Mooney, was well beaten in the Fairview feature on Good Friday.  He is owned by Roy Eckstein who went to R300 000 for him at the Nationals.

The R125 000 Listed Easter Handicap provided trainer Deon Visser and apprentice Keagan De Melo with their second win of the day when the Captain Al gelding Hold The Gold went from start to finish to hold a flying Gold Onyx. This was also the promising De Melo’s second feature winner of his career, after winning the Listed Umgeni Handicap on Tetelestai in 2011.

The former Mike De Kock horse has been a model of consistency and won his sixth race from 32 starts here. Bred in Wellington in the Boland at Arc-en-Ciel Stud, he stayed on courageously and looked a beaten horse 100m from the post. The well-backed Sage Throne put in a tame effort to finish out of the places and looks a shadow of his former self and is not in the correct zone if he has any Champions Season aspirations.

Delago Deluxe wins clwd 8 apr

Dominant! The Jooste silks to the fore as Delago Deluxe wins the second race.

The dominance in terms of pure numbers of the Ingrid and Markus Jooste partnership silks on the South African owner ranks was illustrated to ample effect in the second race, a Pinnacle Stakes run over 1100m. While there can be no question that the game needs every owner, the catastrophic potential fallout of so much patronage and power in one hand goes without saying. The Joostes have spread their support to a cross-section of training establishments, and had runners today for four different trainers.

The race produced an exciting finish with the Joostes grabbing first, second and fourth stake cheques. It almost went horribly wrong for backers though when Anton Marcus had to dig very deep on the 1-3 favourite Delago Deluxe. The Encosta De Lago colt was put under serious pressure in the final 50m by his stablemate Ruby Cartel  who started at 15-1.

Laird and Marcus were unanimous that it was a ‘disappointing run’ by the former Champion Two Year, and it is obvious that he may have been sent a bit early and tired in the final 200m after his three month break after leaving the Bass yard in Cape Town

The Dennis Bosch Badger’s Drift filly Sporty Thong  looked a likely winner inside the final 200m of the Maiden Plate for Fillies and Mares run over 1450m. Anthony Delpech had made what looked like a match winning move at the top of the straight after the pacesetting Ilucci Loochee  tired quickly.

Spectre Lady wins clwd r3 on 8 apr

Impressive! Spectre Lady sheds her maiden under Raymond Danielson in the third today.

Sporty Thong  was going well but apparently bled and she hit a wall as Raymond Danielson produced Gavin Van Zyl’s Spectre Lady at generous odds of 16-1 to win going away. Sporty Thong hardly deserves to retire a maiden at this rate, but her future looks uncertain, while the winner was having her eighth start and may yet improve.

The fancied Butler Yeats refused to take the turn in the Pick 6 opener, a Maiden Plate over a mile and took 100 000 PA combinations with him as Anton Marcus pulled him up at the railway line.  Brandon Lerena grabbed the lead on the fancied Suncat but it was shortlived as Nicky Roebuck produced the Wendy Whitehead colt Gida from the worst draw to skip away and win by a diminishing length from The Real Nick.

The Summerhill Stud bred Gida has come to hand quickly since attempting a mile, and after being a narrowly beaten 13-20 favourite last time with Marcus up, he looks like he could  train on from here.

Trainer Deon Visser achieved a feat of shrewd conditioning when sending out the smart Toreador filly She’s A Stunner to record a hat-trick of wins. She beat a smart field of ladies in the MR86 Handicap over 1200m. The real merit in her hat-trick lies in the fact that she has achieved her wins while being kept on the boil over an extended period of time – the first leg of the treble coming two weeks before Christmas.

Keagan De Melo had her tucked away behind the pacemaking visitor Blouberg Beach and she ran on to win well. This was her fifth win from twelve starts and The Alchemy product  can fly with the best of her age.


Godolphin Barb S. (SAf-G3) (4/8)
Clairwood, South Africa, April 8, R150.000, 1000m, turf, good, 59.50 (CR 55.16).
TWITTER (SAF), 58.0, ch c 2, Var – Avian Talk (ARG) by Confidential Talk. Owner R S Eckstein; breeder Avontuur Farm (SAF); trainer V H Marshall; jockey S Cormack (R93.750)
Indaba My Children (AUS), 58.0, b c 2, Tale Of The Cat – Hampton Rover by Miswaki
My Jelly Bean (SAF), 58.0, b c 2, Announce (SAF) – Jelly Baby (SAF) by Jallad
Margins: 1¾, sh hd, 2
Also ran: Alqaffay (SAF) 58.0, Potent Power (SAF) 58.0, King’s Jet (SAF) 58.0, Bingelela (SAF) 56.0
Strelitzia S. (SAf-G3) (4/8)
Clairwood, South Africa, April 8, R150.000, 1000m, turf, good, 58.55 (CR 55.16).
 VALDIVIA (SAF), 56.0, ch f 2, Var – River Divine by Irish River (FR). Owner T Y Lin; breeder Avontuur Farm (SAF); trainer V H Marshall; jockey A Marcus (R93.750)
Coniston Gold (SAF), 58.0, b f 2, Lake Coniston (IRE) – Raggedy Ann (SAF) by Fine Edge (GB)
Fun Sunzi (AUS), 58.0, b f 2, Oratorio (IRE) – Harem Queen (AUS) by Al Hareb
Margins: 5½, 1½, 1½
Also ran: Spanish Victory (SAF) 54.0, London Olympics (SAF) 54.0, Nips Nugget (SAF) 56.0, Weather Report (SAF) 54.0

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