Shea Comes Out Boxing

King Of Torts wins the Gr3 Christmas Handicap

A King Of Sorts! Kevin Shea drives King Of Torts out to a great win

A King Of Sorts! Kevin Shea drives King Of Torts out to a great win

A smart half brother to Durban July winner Dunford showed a flash of his earlier ability, when powering on to win the R200 000 Gr3 Christmas Handicap in front of a festive crowd at Clairwood on Thursday. King Of Tort’s victory was a memorable one for KZN breeders Bruce and Nadine Le Roux, who also produced the winner of the 2012 Christmas Handicap.

Last year’s winner Silver Age stepped out after a full twelve month absence from action, to run a cracking fourth.

For the genuine racing sentimentalists, the last ever running of the Christmas Handicap at the historic Clairwood, which is scheduled to close in the New Year, would have brought on a few misty eyed moments.

But life goes on and Kevin Shea proved again that he is no Christmas jockey, when he showed the energy and vigour of a man half his age as he rode a confident race from near the pace to grab the ascendancy late on.

The rush for places behind the eventual winner produced a blanket finish, with under a half length covering the top five finishers.

Duncan Howells trained the winner.

Duncan Howells

Duncan Howells. Trained the winner

Always Al stretched them early as he led Dylan’s Promise, Pyrothechnic and King Of Torts all the way around.

Into the home run King Of Torts took it up on the outside at the 300m as they fanned across the track behind him with many running on.

The fancied topweight Gold Onyx ran into traffic problems late in the race. S’manga Khumalo paid the penalty there for gambling on a non existent gap materialising.

With King Of Torts showing commitment and resolution, he stayed on well to win by a head in a time of 94,39 secs.

King Jace also stayed on well,  with the consistent Fourth Estate grabbing third place.

In a feather in the cap for the handicapper, only 3,45 lengths separate first to last of the fourteen runners.

King  Of Torts was bred by Bruce and Nadine Le Roux at their Spring Valley Stud.

He is  by Mogok out of the five time winning Piaffer mare, Pelican Brief.

Pelican Brief is now close to 21 years of age and has a yearling on the ground by King Of Kings. She is currently in foal to Just As Well.

Pelican Brief has been a good servant. Beyond King Of Torts, her better produce includes Dunford (Shalford),a ten time winner,  and Grisham (Kahal), a five time winner.

King Of Torts sold for R280 000 on the National Yearling Sale, a price breeder Bruce Le Roux says was ‘very fair’:

“Cathy Howells loved him as a yearling, but he was not a big horse. When she brought Duncan to see him, he didn’t hesitate and said that he loved him. I do recall one of the co owners of Dunford subsequently ringing me and telling me he didn’t know that the colt was on the sale,” he said.

King Of Torts was winning his fourth race with three places from his sixteen outings.

He took his earnings to R307 359.

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