A modest, struggling former turf performer underscored the option of sand as an alternative career path when he confounded the handicapper and many punters by winning the R100 000 Flamingo Park Handicap on Monday. The Tienie Prinsloo trained Sir Isaac is a gelding who has graduated from going nowhere to going places.
Formerly trained by Alan Greeff out of Port Elizabeth, where he won just one weak maiden from 21 starts in the Fred Crabbia silks, Sir Isaac has hardly put a hoof wrong since making his sand debut in the Northern Cape on 17 February.
Five runs later, he has banked two winning cheques and three second place stakes as his official rating has soared from 49 to 71 on the jump here. Even off that mark he really still looked to have it all to do against the likes of the barked about Muthiah Pillai and the most consistent topweight, African Gladiator.
As he enjoys it, Marco Van Rensburg took African Gladiator up to lead Top Mark and Muthiah Pillai with Blushing Grey on the rail.
Louis Nhlapo had Sir Isaac tucked up neatly in midfield for much of the first half.
Turning for home African Gladiator galloped on strongly as Muthiah Pillai was the first horse beaten and came under immediate pressure.
In the meanwhile, the wide awake Nhlapo steered Sir Isaac to the outside for a clear run from his perfect midfield position and he turned on the jets with most of the field off the bit and under severe pressure.
Sir Isaac caught his stablemate, the gallant grey mare Blushing Grey, inside the 200m and went on to win by a half length in a time of 112,73 secs.
Blushing Grey is interestingly another good example of a turf retread come good.
The Bernard Kantor bred Dupont mare left Piet Steyn’s Milnerton yard as a two time winner in early 2013 and just over a year later has won six times in total, with four wins in succession prior to her solid second place behind Sir Isaac.
The longshot Dekkie Boy ran into third ahead of the mare, Desert Breeze.
The well backed Kum Naidoo trained favourite Muthiah Pillai faded badly to run 23 lengths back.
Ironically his rider Muzi Yeni is the regular pilot of both the winner and runner up.
Jockey Louis Nhlapo said Sir Isaac was a rather lazy but big and strong horse who could perform ‘over any distance.’
Thrilled owner Reynier Gerber was on course with his daughter to lead the winner in.
He praised Prinsloo as a trainer who was ‘so confident’ and one who ‘never took any chances’.
Prinsloo, who is emerging as something of a serious force this season, wrapped matters up by suggesting that if one looked after the horses, ‘they look after you.’
Bred by Bush Hill Stud, Sir Isaac is by Newton out of the twice winning Divine King mare, Celestial Dawn.
Sir Isaac is a winner of 3 of his 26 starts with 8 places for total stakes of R182 650.
Tienie Prinsloo shared the day’s training honours with Cliffie Miller, while Marco Van Rensburg grabbed the riding accolade with a nice double.
Throwing good money after bad makes no sense at all.
Any owner or trainer with a turf battler should thus surely be considering a move to the Northern Cape.
After all, wasn’t it Isaac Newton who said that ‘we build too many walls and not enough bridges’?