Once In A Lifetime

Red Ray set to shine on Gr1 SA Nursery at Turffontein on Saturday

Red Ray

Something Special! The Western Winter colt Red Ray goes for his fourth successive win in the Gr1 SA Nursery

It is difficult to recall when last a young horse carried a burden of the size of the huge reputation foisted on the magnificent shoulders of Joey Ramsden’s Red Ray. Unbeaten in three starts, the son of Western Winter should by all accounts devour the lion’s share of the R1 million Gr1 SA Nursery as an hors d’ouvre for his future feasts.

Mark Twain is on record as having suggested that ‘as to the adjective; when in doubt, strike it out.’ So let’s just keep this simple and avoid the lyrical waxing and clichéd adjectives that tend to accompany the frequent ramblings of racing journalists.

We after all have to be equally kind to good and bad horses, as well as to the temperamental and sensitive folk that are absorbed in their slipstreams. The first tribute is due to the fourteen brave souls that step out in the Gr1 on Saturday to challenge Red Ray.

While he is just a 2yo and has had only three runs, who in their right mind would dare take on a ‘proper racehorse’ that a champion trainer has labelled ‘he is like something I have never seen before’ and whom a vastly experienced, sometimes cynical, but very informed racing manager has already pencilled in for an international campaign?

That is the Lammerskraal bred Red Ray. A winner of his first three starts all over the Kenilworth 1200m by a combined 9,50 lengths.His last win was an emphatic victory in the listed Somerset 1200 a fortnight ago, and while he admittedly has beaten nothing of note.


What or who, can beat Red Ray? Marcus has suggested that he is a horse who prefers the ‘cover to come to him rather than him going to find the cover.’ His enormous cruising speed means he could find himself in no man’s land with the likes of Jimmi Choo going like the clappers.But that won’t be the end of the world either.

The lightning fast Jimmi Choo won the Storm Bird Stakes at his penultimate start, but was caught late in the Protea Stakes by Jay Peg’s good son, Olympic Owen. He is a talented son of Bezrin, and is a nice quartet rover for the minor money.

Spies Duo

Olympic Owen runs here as part of a two way Corne Spies coupling, and it is quite puzzling to see that Fanie Chambers, who rode such a magnificent race on him in the Protea Stakes, moves to Tommy Gun.

Olympic Owen looks the sort that will enjoy more of a test of stamina and could be run off his feet. Tommy Gun won well at his second start, after a close up second on debut. He made a respiratory noise at his first start, and looks best for a place.

Bill Me

Gavin Van Zyl sends out a coupling of Buffalo Bill and Lavender Landscape. The latter won on debut over the Vaal 1200m, but beat a rather weak field and will be hard pressed to match that performance here.

Buffalo Bill has run three times and found the 1400m to his liking when winning second time out. The son of Stronghold showed good pace last time over Saturday’s course and distance, and could run a place.


Mike De Kock’s debut winner Duly Ordained was withdrawn from the Protea Stakes with a reported respiratory disease, and thus comes off a break since 7 February. He runs in the same silks as Red Ray, but that is probably where the likeness ends at this stage of the game.

Doug Campbell’s King’s Bay travels from KZN and the son of King Of Kings has won his last three starts, culminating in a terrific victory in the NBT Sentinel Stakes over the Clairwood 1000m last time out.

Joey Soma’s Kandahar was a runaway debut winner in a small field, but then faded badly to finish 14 lengths off Tommy Gun at his next start. He has no chance on that run. The rest do not inspire hope.


For us its simple. If he travels without incident, Red Ray will win this. He hails from a professional Gr1 winning yard. He looks a champion in the making.

We can already see Anton Marcus ‘just’ quipping once again that ‘I haven’t lost any confidence in him.’ Get down to Turffontein on Saturday to grab your place on the rail to watch him fly!

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