Gary Player – Another Double Grand Slam

Don’t you just love Gary Player. It is such a boost for racing to have SA’s golf legend so involved in the sport.

The 88 year-old looked as sprightly as ever at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth where he witnessed his Vercingetorix filly Double Grand Slam win the third race of her career, with victory in the SplashOut Gr 3 Prix Du Cap.

Winning partners! Gary Player and Suzette Viljoen at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on Saturday (Pic -Chase Liebenberg)

David Mollett writes that perhaps the biggest surprise was that Gary had a piece of paper with notes for his post-race interview.

Anyway, he didn’t forget anyone:

On co-owner Dave Maclean, he said that if he had to suggest they might buy a horse, he just says ‘go for it.’

He added that owner Suzette Viljoen ‘has so much passion for racing’.

It was another red-letter day for Suzette and her husband Basie, as they are also in the ownership of Jet Master Stakes victor, Royal Aussie.

The Viljoen’s successful racing journey continued at Turffontein on Sunday with another of Vercingetorix’s progeny, Golden Sickle, notching her sixth career win with an authoritative success in the TAB Bauhinia Handicap.

Gary didn’t forget Double Grand Slam’s breeders, Varsfontein Stud. “They simply breed very good horses.”

Varsfontein sold Double Grand Slam to the Player/Maclean/Viljoen partnership for R1 million and Gary said he had turned down a big offer for the three year-old last week.

Probably a good call as Saturday was only the filly’s fifth career start and one can imagine trainer Justin Snaith will be targeting some big races during the forthcoming KZN season.

Watch the replay of Double Grand Slam’s runaway win:

The Viljoens aren’t shy to splash out big money on their equine purchases, but Royal Aussie was a bargain buy at R75 000 from Klawervlei Stud. Victory on Saturday took the son of Royal Mo’s earnings to over R5 813 551.

No doubt that Royal Aussie – third in the L’Ormarins King’s Plate behind Charles Dickens but never sighted in the WSB Met – appreciated reverting to 1600m.

One wouldn’t say the Jet Master was a strong field, but the four year-old simply had to be kept up to his work to notch his fifth win.

To his credit, Gary Player has a number of different trainers and his R230 000 buy Family Power is in the safe hands of Greg Ennion.

The daughter of Louis The King ran in Saturday’s Cape Fillies Classic but found the company too strong and trailed in at the rear behind Rainbow Lorikeet.

American Joe Biden, bidding for another term as President, and Gary Player have something in common – both were born in the month of November.

Biden was born in 1942 which makes him 82 years old while Gary, born in 1935, is 88.

Looking at Gary’s demeanour on Saturday, he looks more sprightly than Biden does in recent TV interviews.

Now Gary – the only player to win the British Open in three different decades – will be eyeing a Gr 1 success with the aptly-named, Double Grand Slam.

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