Cheers as Zambucca wins R300 000 Gr2 Victory Moon Stakes

Downpour! Zambucca(Karl Zechner in blue silks) gets the better of Astro News to win the Gr2 Victory Moon Stakes at Turffontein on Friday evening

The heavenly drum roll that greeted shock Victory Moon Stakes winner Zambucca’s return to the winner’s enclosure at Turffontein on Friday evening, after a titanic duel with fellow longshot Astro News, may have signified an ominous warning for next month’s Summer Cup.

This game may be dominated by the big guns, but the wheel turns and everybody gets their moment in the sun.

The thunder and lightening that accompanied the start of Friday evening’s Turffontein feature were the forewarning of doom and gloom for punters and the bigger yards.

But the weather was the least of worries for trainer Saeed Mohideen and Zambucca’s owner Hamad M Kadfoor Al Mehari, as their smart 4yo colt built on his excellent prep run in the recent Joburg Spring Challenge by scoring a first Group winner for his sire, Lundy’s Liability.

Besides cracking Keeneland Gold’s course record, Zambucca showed terrific fight and ability and proved that the odds offered about his chances were all wrong.

From a keen jump Astro News led Zambucca early as Marcus settled Vettel in third, just ahead of the blinkered Shogunnar. The rest were strung out twenty lengths behind the leaders.

Deciding that things were going a little too cosy out front, Marcus stepped on the accelerator and took Vettel up to lead at the 1000m marker with Shogunnar slotting into second, just ahead of Zambucca and Astro News. They maintained this order all the way around and into the long home run, with Zechner giving his mount his head about 400m out.

The competitive visiting international rider, Joao Magic Moreira was also vigorously at work on Astro News, and he wasn’t letting Zechner get away.

Winning Rider. Jockey Karl Zechner rode a cracker in the Victory Moon Stakes (pic:

In the final 300m Astro News and Zambucca came together to fight it out with jockey Karl Zechner extracting the significant few centimeters out of his mount as he denied the Singapore champion jockey Joao Moreira what would have been a significant Group winner on his lightening (excuse the pun) visit to South Africa.

The winner powered home by a head in a time of 108,18secs.

Brian Wiid’s Astro News ran his heart out and, while a little inconsistent, appears to have another big race in him.

Last year’s winner Smanjemanje showed some heartening improvement to run a fair fifth, beaten 6,25 lengths.

The Mike De Kock sextet had mixed outcomes.

His ever gallant Emerald Cup winner Meadow Magic ran a nice third, just ahead of Vettel, while Ilsanpietro was just behind him over a trip short of his optimum. Silent Partner failed to capitalise on his galloping weight, as he plodded into seventh.

The weak favourite Ilha Bela disappointed her supporters once again and never showed, finishing ninth and nine lengths behind, while Irish Flame showed his unfitness after an eight month break and ran a distant last.

Zambucca has 4 wins and 8 places from his 16 runs for earnings of R533 675.

Bred by Dr Marianne Thomson at Ambiance Stud, he cost R170 000 at the National Yearling Sale of his year.

Zambucca is by the Brazillian-bred Candy Stripes stallion Lundy’s Liability, out of the prolific winner-producing Dancing Champ mare, Jazz Champion.

Lundy’s Liability stands for a R5000 fee at Ambiance Stud in the Cape.

Originally trained by Mike De Kock, he is a stallion who has not had the support that his track record or breeding would suggest he deserves. That is illustrated by the fact that he has had less than 60 runners in four seasons at stud.

Lundy’s Liability’s  impressive race record includes wins in the Gr2 UAE Derby, the Gr2 Breeders’ Cup Handicap and the Gr2 San Antonio Handicap. Like Friday evening’s feature, all these were run over 1800m.

Zambucca stands out head and shoulders amongst his progeny.

He won the Listed SA Derby Trial to be Lundy’s Liability’s first stakes winner, and in winning the Victory Moon Stakes become a first Group winner for him.

And now roll on 1 December and the Summer Cup!

The meeting was abandoned with no further races being run as the track was waterlogged.


Victory Moon S. (SAf-G2) (11/16)

Turffontein, South Africa, November 16, R300.000, 1800m, turf, good, 1.48.18

(CR 1.48.92).

ZAMBUCCA (SAF), 54.0, ch c 4, Lundy’s Liability (BRZ) – Jazz Champion (SAF)

by Dancing Champ (USA). Owner Hamad M Kadloor al Mehairi; breeder Ambiance

Stud (SAF); trainer S Mohideen; jockey K Zechner (R187.500)

Astro News (SAF), 51.0, ch g 4, Silvano (GER) – Orange Moon (SAF) by

Dominion Royale (GB)

Meadow Magic (SAF), 55.0, b g 5, Mogok (USA) – Meadow Rhumba (SAF) by Shoe

Danzig (USA)

Margins: nose, 4¼, 1½

Also ran: Vettel (ARG) 57.0, Smanjemanje (SAF) 61.0, Ilsanpietro (BRZ) 57.0,

Silent Partner (SAF) 51.0, Baracah (SAF) 51.0, Ilha Bela (SAF) 51.5, Hawker

Hunter (SAF) 51.5, Pessoa (SAF) 51.0, Straw Market (SAF) 51.0, Knock On Wood

(SAF) 54.0, Shogunnar (SAF) 54.0, Seal (SAF) 62.0, Irish Flame (SAF) 57.0

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