Bulsara has always threatened to be a seriously good horse, repeatedly finishing within a few lengths of many of the best around, and he made short work of beating ten rivals in the London News over 1800m on the inner track at Turffontein on Sunday, writes Matthew Lips.
Bulsara had easily won a set weights race over 1600m on the same course in December and was the 7/2 second favourite for the London News. Leading the market was Regal Ransom, a narrow winner on his seasonal debut on the Turffontein standside course in December and best weighted on merit ratings in this conditions event. He was well supported from an ante-post call of 7/2 to replace Bulsara at the top of the boards and went off as a 2/1 favourite. Smanjemanje – only beaten a head by Regal Ransom in December – was the 5/1 third favourite.
Former Gr 2 Dingaans winner Lion’s Blood appears to have a mind of his own these days. Whether by the intent of his rider or otherwise, Lion’s Blood took the bull by the horns on the soft ground and opened up a lead of some six lengths, setting a strong pace clear of Havasha and Superfederation, with Smanjemanje and Bulsara next in line as Regal Ransom was held up amongst the backmarkers. Lion’s Blood compounded quickly in the straight and was a goner more than 300m out, where Bulsara rapidly made up ground over on the inside to kick into a healthy lead he never looked in any danger of losing thereafter. Galanthus stayed on gamely and came out second best, but he was always chasing shadows and was four lengths behind Bulsara at the line. This made it a 1-2 finish for four-year-old sons of Silvano. Rudra stayed on to finish another two lengths behind Galanthus in third, with Havasha lacking extra late and finishing fourth. Regal Ransom simply never got going and was beaten nine lengths into 12th place. The soft ground certainly could not be blamed as he was previously unbeaten from four starts in such conditions and achieved his biggest win in the Gr 1 Champions’ Challenge last May on very soggy going.
Runner-up Galanthus can be somewhat inconsistent, but he is very useful on his day and he was facing Bulsara 2 kgs better off than would have been the case had the race been a handicap. That Bulsara could still beat him by four lengths with almost certainly even more still in the tank says a lot for the Gavin van Zyl-trained winner, who gave jockey Raymond Danielson a pretty comfortable pay-day.
Bulsara is bound to try his hand at Gr 1 level again through the course of 2011. It is hardly impossible that he will be able to win in the highest grade and a race such as the Champions’ Challenge on the Turffontein standside course in the autumn presents itself as one distinctly possible objective.
Owned and bred by Mrs Bridget Oppenheimer, Bulsara is the sixth foal and fourth foal of Sportsworld mare Gay Regina, who won six races over 1100/1400m including a Gr 3 event. Gay Regina was also Gr 1 runner-up during a very successful career, and in Bulsara she may be the dam of the best-named horse in training. Go on – Google it.
The London News Stakes marked a fourth win from 16 starts for Bulsara and took his earnings to R927 375.
London News S. (SAf-G3) (1/9)
Turffontein, South Africa, January 9, R200.000, 1800m, turf, soft, 1.54.39 (CR 1.47.57).
BULSARA (SAF), 57.5, b g 4, Silvano (GER) – Gay Regina (SAF) by Sportsworld. Owner Mrs B d Oppenheimer; breeder Mauritzfontein Stud (SAf); trainer G v Zyl; jockey R Danielson (R125.000)
Galanthus (SAF), 56.5, b c 4, Silvano (GER) – Al Jestic (SAF) by Al Mufti
Rudra (SAF), 60.0, ch g 6, Parade Leader – Tawny Red (SAF) by Northfields
Margins: 4, 2, 1¾
Also ran: Havasha (SAF) 56.5, Herod The Great (SAF) 57.0, Smanjemanje (SAF) 56.5, Aluminium (ARG) 58.0, Call To Combat (SAF) 57.0, Regal Ransom (SAF) 59.5, Superfederation (SAF) 57.0, Lion’s Blood (SAF) 57.0