Trainer Mike De Kock produced Gorongosa in fighting fettle after a four month rest to clinch top honours in the R135 000 Listed Spook Express Handicap run over 2600m at Turffontein on Sunday.
It is often said that slightly unfit horses can bluff their way after a rest over sprints. But the De Kock magic worked wonders here with the trojan mare returning to 2600m worth of action after a 141 day rest to win well.
The slow pace set throughout the race by the lightly weighted Muzi Yeni and Himalayan Hill may have proved the undoing of the classy De Kock stayer. Turning for home, Delpech made his move wide out from midfield, as years of experience have shown him that he could well be caught flat-footed in the chase for the line.
The game Himalayan Hill continued to roll as Brandy Nan flattered briefly. But Gorongosa was the better horse on the day and she got to Himalayan Hill a few strides from the line to win quite convincingly.
Gorongosa was a popular exotic bet banker and went off a 17-20 favourite. The first three finished in order of the favoured betting. The consistent but luckless Himalayan Hill did the proverbial donkey work but was beaten 0,25 lengths into second at 33-10, The gallant Heyouneverknow stayed on for third at 7-1. The blanket finish saw the first five horses finish within 1,55 lengths of the winner.
After an excellent win in the 3200m Gr3 Racing Association Handicap in November when beating Kolkata, this was Gorongosa’s second stakes victory and she looks set to have a crack at the Gold Bowl.
Gorongosa, named after an ecologically diverse park in the province of Sofala in Central Mozambique, has now won seven of her ten starts. She has in fact earned in every subsequent start following a quiet unplaced debut over 1200m at Clairwood in May 2011.Her career record shows seven wins from ten starts for stake earnings of R475 000.
Wilgerbosdrift Stud race the Irish bred Gorongosa, who is by recently deceased Coolmore Sadler’s Wells stallion Montjeu , out of the French bred Ezzoud mare Parvenue-who incidentally only won once and that over 1200m. Mary Slack was on course to enjoy the win.