Good Things & Good People

Gimmethegreenlight filly goes all the way

The sizzling form of Paarl-based Glen Kotzen and his perpetually unflustered jockey Morne Winnaar gained further momentum at a sunny Kenilworth on Saturday when the experienced lightweight rider grabbed the spotlight with a confident ride in the R350 000 Gr2 Western Cape Fillies Championship.

What a combination!

On Friday the duo grabbed the silverware at Fairview with Viva Rio in the Listed Racing Association Stakes.

the bird has flown as More Winnaar urges Third Runway with Anton Marcus getting to work on Pretty Young Thing (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

And 24 hours later they dominated the podium at their home centre with a dominant victory by the Varsfontein-bred Gimmethegreenlight flyer Third Runway, who had won the Listed Irridescence Stakes at the same venue in the Cape winter at her last start as a 2yo.

Two pertinent observations by winning breeder representative Susan Rowett in the post-race formalities summed up the moment – ‘nice things happen to nice people and the small ones can run too.”

Third Runway is not a big filly, but she obviously can, and loves to, run and as Kotzen describes, ‘she’s strong!’

Morne Winnaar – man on a mission (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

After Anton Marcus had done a terrific done to get the second favourite Pretty Young Thing around the field from her draw in the Youngsfield military barracks, the top jock wasn’t keen to go and that was the moment the cucumber-cool Winnaar grabbed the initiative.

Described by the winning trainer as ‘pound for pound, the best jockey around’, Winnaar confirmed that his mount had natural gate speed, but that Pretty Young Thing ‘was a bit quicker than me’.

I decided not to fight her. I let her stride.Her work gallops were good and I knew she was well. She ran right to the line,” said the former Joey Ramsden protege in his usual composed understated style.

At the 350m Third Runway (16-1) was still galloping powerfully and even though Marcus looked to have something in reserve down the inside, the 33-10 second favourite’s early exertions told and she was still 1,75 lengths short at the line as the winner stopped the timer in 86,94 secs.

Third Runway stretches clear for her second stakes win (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

Roll In The Hay (5-1) and Driving Miss Daisy (18-1) completed the quartet.

The highly vaunted unbeaten PE raider World Radar was never seen and finished over ten lengths back, just ahead of KZN raider Maidens Prayer, who ran last, clearly in need of the run.

Trainer Glen Kotzen conceded that this race was usually ‘won by a filly with fresh legs” and said that his charge would hopefully get the mile of the fairer sex Guineas in December.

He thanked his owners Betron and Charlotte le Matyer, Baker Mcveigh partner Helena Mennessier, and that perpetual ‘lucky owner’, Phillip Bamford.

Varsfontein’s Susan Rowett explained that the Le Matyers were keen on acquiring some horses but had been set back by the export protocols. Which obviously had the happy spin-off of meaning that they landed up buying Third Runway on ‘spec’.

Bred by Varsfontein, the winner is by Gimmethegreenlight (More Than Ready) out of the Black Minnaloushe mare, Outrage.

The winning team (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

A R200 000 National Yearling Sale graduate – Glen observed that they may as well have just walked her across the road from his near neighbours Varsfontein rather than travelling all the way to Joburg for the sale –  Third Runway has won 3 races with 1 place from 4 starts for stakes of R351 025.

Glen summed up the form of his yard as a massive team effort. “I have got a really strong team and things are working well,” he said.

It’s great to see a top yard back a loyal jockey beyond the midweek maidens.

Who is betting against Kotzen and Winnaar producing some more Grandstand podium performances this season?


Gr2 Fillies Championship (SAf-Gr2)

Kenilworth, South Africa, October 26, R350k, 1400m, turf, soft, 1.26.94

1 – THIRD RUNWAY (SAF), 60.0, b f 3, Gimmethegreenlight (AUS) – Outrage (SAF) by Black Minnaloushe (USA). Owner Mr P Bamford & Mesdames C Le Metayer & H Mennessier; Breeder Varsfontein Stud; trainer GS Kotzen; jockey M Winnaar
2 – Pretty Young Thing (SAF), 60.0, b f 3, Jackson (SAF) – Nona In Command (AUS) by Commands (AUS)
3 – Roll In The Hay (SAF), 60.0, b f 3, Gimmethegreenlight (AUS) – Country Girl (SAF) by Mon Sang (USA)
Margins: 1.75, 0.75, 0.20

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