A triple Gr1 runner-up in an impressive career, there are few that will argue that things haven’t always gone Hammie’s Hooker’s way. But on Saturday at Kenilworth the Trippi mare bounced back in scintillating style to humiliate her ten opponents with a solid display to win the R250 000 Gr3 Prix Du Cap.
“She made them look ordinary,” quipped veteran conditioner Mike Bass on a big winning afternoon for the yard, after the Zandvliet Stud product had dished out a galloping lesson to a younger quality field over the 1400m
Hammie’s Hooker, a Gr2 winner, has had the misfortune to bump the likes of Rumya and Beach Beauty on her well worn path in competing against the very best of her sex and in her quest in her, as yet, unrealised goal to register a Gr1 victory.
In fact her tale has been one of glorious near misses – dating right back to her sophomore season when she was pipped for the title of Champion 2yo filly by the star Marshall speedster, All Is Secret.
That’s history though and whatever decision is made as to her immediate future, Hammie’s Hooker should make for a smashing broodmare.
With Zaccharias slow out, Miss Saigon led the Prix Du Cap charge from Maybe Yes and Antonia’s Fortress early on with Hammie’s Hooker relaxed in midfield about six lengths off the gallop.
The order remained largely unchanged into the home run and with Miss Saigon galloping powerfully into the final 400m, Bernard Fayd’herbe switched Hammie’s Hooker out for a run off the rail as Red Flame went with her, and Maybe Yes gunned into top gear.
But at the 250m marker it was clear who was going best of all and Hammie’s Hooker came home unchallenged to beat Red Flame by 1,75 lengths in a time of 88,82 secs.
Brett Crawford’s Maybe Yes showed a return to better form with a decent third ahead of Yogas Govender’s Antonia’s Fortress.
Hammie’s Hooker’s stablemate Lanner Falcon jumped a weak favourite but was never in the hunt and finished out of the money.
Jockey Bernard Fayd’herbe said that he had never gone down to start ‘on a horse like this’. He was referring to Hammie’s Hooker’s soundness issues.
“She went down very scratchy. But I warmed her up and she jumped nicely. I eased her back and she just got better and better through the race. She is really very unlucky to have bumped the likes of Beach Beauty,” he said.
Trainer Mike Bass, who saddled five winners on the day, was thrilled.
“She has been a bit frustrating this season and I’m not sure whether she will go on from here.She really is the unluckiest horse not to have won a Gr1. But this was a fantastic win,” he said.
Hammie’s Hooker has now won 9 races with 12 places from 27 starts and R1 521 070 in stakes earnings.
Messrs Marsh Shirtliff, Bryn Ressell and Markus Jooste went to R360 000 for her at the Cape Regional Summer Yearling Sale in March 2011.
She was bred at Zandvliet Stud, and is by Trippi out of the twice-winning Damascus Gate mare Gem Queen, who was trained and owned in her racing career by Greg Ennion.
Her performance was a highlight of the Cape Town Prawn Festival that brought down the curtain on another memorable Cape Summer Of Champions Season.
The initiative behind the family oriented Cape Town Prawn Festival is aimed at giving back to the community as over a ton of prawns are sold at cost price and over R70 000 in prizes are given away to racegoers.
Jenna Adams, Marketing Manager for Kenilworth Racing said, “Whilst the organizers prepared to cater for more than double the number of people than last year it was overwhelming to find out the event in fact trebled. Therefore it is safe to say that the Cape Town Prawn Festival is becoming one of the largest events held at Kenilworth. We are very excited to prepare for even further growth next year and another initiative will be to engage with government to assist with infrastructure and inventory.”
Gr3 Prix Du Cap (SAf-Gr3)
Kenilworth, South Africa, February 21, R250k, 1400m, turf, good, 1.28.82
1 – HAMMIE’S HOOKER (SAF), 60.5, b m 5, Trippi (USA) – Gem Queen (SAF) by Damascus Gate (USA). Owner Messrs M J Jooste, Bryn Ressell & N M Shirtliff; Breeder Zandvliet Stud; trainer MW Bass; jockey B Fayd’herbe
2 – Red Flame (SAF), 55.5, b f 4, Jet Master (SAF) – Forty Fires (SAF) by Western Winter (USA)
3 – Maybe Yes (SAF), 58.5, b f 4, Tiger Ridge (USA) – Fair Enough (SAF) by Model Man (SAF)
Margins: 1.50, 0.40, 1.00