Let The Music Play

Heavy Metal wins the R2 million Gr1 President's Champions Challenge

Musical! Heavy Metal charges clear to win the Gr1 President's Champions Challenge

Musical! Heavy Metal charges clear to win the Gr1 President’s Champions Challenge

Trainer Sean Tarry took the reins from perpetual pacesetter Mike De Kock at the top of the national trainer’s log when the Silvano gelding Heavy Metal stormed clear at 40 to 1 to win the Gr1 R2 million President’s Champions Challenge run over 2000m at Turffontein on Saturday.

Tarry has emerged as a bright light in the SA training ranks dominated at the top of the table for so long by the awesome power of Mike De Kock. The win  by Heavy Metal put the icing on top of another wonderful afternoon for the Tarry yard and their Champions Season prospects have brightened considerably.

Heavy Metal won a superb race in a time of 123,56 secs.

Knock On Wood was backed late and stormed through in the closing stages to run a 1,75 length second place just ahead of Shogunnar who stayed on well and retains his title as the best Novice on the African continent.

Whiteline Fever never went on with his effort and stopped late for fourth, adding substance to the theory that he may be a better horse over 200m less.

Winning jockey S’manga Khumalo, who has been plagued by injuries celebrated with his children.

“I’ve got no words. I just sat on him and he has a short burst. I followed Shogunnar through. He did it easier than I thought,” he said happily.

Winning trainer Sean Tarry paid tribute to his owner Chris Van Niekerk:

“Chris is the lifeblood of my stable. He buys me an endless supply of horses and is massive supporter. As far as Heavy Metal goes, it is amazing how people see what they want to see. They chose to focus on his last run rather than his run to Slumdogmillionaire. It was an unorthodox prep but it has worked and I’m pleased that we had the back up firepower to Whiteline Fever,” he said.

The Bosworth Farm bred Heavy Metal is a 4yo gelded son of Silvano out of the one time winning Baroon mare, Percussion. He cost R250 000 as a yearling.

Owner Chris Van Niekerk thanked and congratulated Neil and Lyth Orford of Bosworth Farm Stud, whom he suggested deserved a ‘change of luck.’

The Orfords have been breeding horses at the Bosworth Stud just outside Klerksdorp since they got married in 1968.

Lyth produces about 20 foals a year and admits that there are more lows than highs.  “A lot more.  But I’ve been lucky.  My husband is a vet, so that helps of course.  But we’re not commercial.  We’re quite remote, being about 15 km out of Klerksdorp and are on a very old historic farm

Lyth’s parents were Penny (Chairman of Newmarket) and John Russell and she says she has always been interested in horses.  Neil is a vet and comes from a family of cattle farmers and when they got married, they moved onto Neil’s farm.  It all started with a mare Lyth’s mother had acquired from the Dells.  The mare had hurt herself and ended up at Bosworth.  “It was curiosity really”, says Lyth, “and that’s how it all started.”

They then acquired the stallion Hobnob from the UK.  “He was exceptional.  He wasn’t so beautiful, but he had a great constitution and really was quite flawless.  He bred us a lot of very good horses.  They were wonderful – so sound, such good action and they could run on the hard as well as the soft going.  They were classic horses, but they also had speed.  Hobnob was extraordinary, but we didn’t know too much about anything when we had him.”

Bosworth is in fact one of South Africa’s 12 rock art National Monuments and boasts one of the country’s largest rock engraving sites with over 400 Bushman and Khoe herder rock engravings.  The site is notable for the many depictions of human figures, a charging rhinoceros, a large elephant, a man and ostrich dancing, a flight of birds and many geometric motifs.  Bosworth also has many stone artifacts dating from over 1 million years ago.

There is also a spelling / training farm on the Vaal river and Lyth has spelled most of Chris van Niekerk’s group 1 winners.  “They come to us from the sale and stay for 6 months.  We run them out in big paddocks and bring them along.  We used to break them in and do some pre-training, but we found it was too difficult because everyone wants it a different way.  So now we just spell them after sales and we mix them all in big paddocks to strengthen up and mature.  They do really well.  They don’t go and stand in stables.  They go out onto very good soil.  When they’re ready they go into the trainers.  We’ve probably produced close to 20 Group 1 winners now.”


Champions Challenge (SAf-G1) (4/27)
Turffontein, South Africa, April 27, R2 million, 2000m, turf, good, 2.03.56 .
1 – HEAVY METAL (SAF), 57.5, b g 4, Silvano (GER) – Percussion (SAF) by Baroon (USA). Owner CJH van Niekerk; breeder Bosworth Farm Stud; trainer SG Tarry; jockey S Khumalo (R1.250.000)
2 – Knock On Wood (SAF), 57.5, b g 5, Muhtafal (USA) – Kiss Me Kate (SAF) by Rocky Marriage (USA)
3 – Shogunnar (SAF), 57.5, b g 4, Solskjaer (IRE) – Surfers Eye (SAF) by Elliodor (FR)
Margins: 1¾, ½, ½

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