Some Lateral Thinking Today

Johan Janse van Vuuren’s Dingaans hero Unparalleled adds the sparkle

Unparalleled wins Dngaans_compressed

Unparalleled looks the serious business in Saturday’s Gr3 Tony Ruffel Stakes

On a silver platter. That is how we see the first cheque being delivered in today’s R250 000 Gr3 Tony Ruffel Stakes to the connections of the exciting Lateral gelding, Unparalleled. The Dingaans winner was rumoured to be heading for foreign shores but he commences his Highveld feature season campaign in earnest here and should be watched in the months ahead.

This inside track 1450m race is something of a classic pointer and a barometer for those trainers testing the waters in programming choices for their better 3yo’s.

That can be gauged from the composition of the ten horse field, where some are largely unexposed unknown quantities in this Gr2 winning company.


Johan Janse Van Vuuren

Johan Janse Van Vuuren – saddles a strong coupling

Johan Janse van Vuuren’s Dingaans hero Unparalleled adds the sparkle on topweight and there will be a few opposition connections keen to measure their firepower against him.

The weights are framed such that two-time winners and less would carry 52 kgs, with a 2 kg penalty for each additional win thereafter. Further penalties accrue on the basis of wins in Gr1’s (2,5kgs), Gr2’s (1,5kgs) and Gr3 victories attract a 1kg penalty.

Unparalleled stands out and will be ridden by Gavin Lerena, who enjoyed a most productive Met day with a feature double for Mike De Kock.

Won Well

Unparalleled got the world to sit up and take note when he beat champion 2yo of last term Harry’s Son by 4,25 lengths in the Gr2 Dingaans.

His sharpener a month later confirmed that the Dingaans was no flash in the pan – not that his previous form was bad at all.

Despite a bump or two, he came home readily over the Turffontein 1160m to beat Astro by 2 lengths. One would suggest that is way short of his best.

At the weights, he looks to win this readily.

Tarry’s Gold

Sean Tarry -  rates Imperial Gold

Sean Tarry – rates Imperial Gold

Sean Tarry’s Imperial Gold returns from a three race visit in the Cape. His best was a running on fourth behind local star Act Of War in the Cape Guineas.

That one was well beaten by Ertijaal on Saturday, but we are not going to suggest question marks against the form based on one run that was probably 200m too far for Act Of War.

Tarry rates Imperial Gold and from a 1 draw, he has the gate speed and the pace to make his presence felt.

His stablemate Kapitan is the most experienced runner in the race but has not shown enough to suggest he can be fancied.

Private Property

Unparalleled’s stablemate Belong To Me ran a fair fourth in the Graham Beck Stakes but then went to Cape Town for the CTS RTR Stakes where he pulled up distressed.

He bounced back nicely to beat Burg a half length but needs to find 1,5kgs on the Ferraris runner.

Weiho Marwing sends out the undefeated Australian-bred Mac De Lago, a winner of his only two starts and then both at long odds.

He gets 3,5kgs from topweight Unparalleled and with collateral measurement, it is difficult to assess how good he is – and whether he will be equal to taking on a Gr1 winner.


Piere Strydom - interesting engagement on Prince Of Orange

Piere Strydom – interesting engagement on Prince Of Orange

Much the same can be said of Roy Magner’s Oldlands Stud-bred Prince Of Orange, a winner of 3 of his 8 starts.

He showed impressive resolve last time when going a mile for the first time and accounting for Nero by 4,75 lengths in an MR 74 Handicap.

While we can assume that he has improved in the 3 months since he ran sixth in the Graham Beck Stakes, on which collateral he looks held by Unparalleled (on a line through Harry’s Son) and Belong To Me, the jockey engagement of Piere Strydom does appeal.

In The Blood

The classy Link Man’s full brother Burg has won 2 of 8 starts, and has a decent victory over the progressive Shadow Ofhis Smile to his credit.

As already observed, he is 1,5kgs better off with Belong To Me for a half length beating over shorter, but looks to be a few lengths better over this trip.

Pacy And Racy

Trainer Tyrone Zackey -  Top Rank has disappointed recently

Trainer Tyrone Zackey – Top Rank has disappointed recently

Mike De Kock’s beautifully bred Mutamakkin is a pacy sort who has pulled a 2 draw.

His 1 length fourth behind Mitraad in the Listed Secretariat Stakes was his sole exposure to feature company and his 5,5kg weight turnaround with Prince Of Orange (who finished under a length ahead) on that run brings him into the likely places picture here.

Tyrne Zackey’s Top Rank ran a peach of a prep for the Dingaans when beating Mutamakkin by 5,50 lengths in receipt of a half kilo over a mile.

He ran a shocker in the Dingaans and his run last Saturday was a poor 25 length last behind Eral Of Derby.

Front Rank has shown himself to be quite a moody sort at best and could pop up into the quartets – if he arrives in galloping mood.


The Scott Bros-bred Light The Way is a consistent son of Miesque’s Approval.

A winner of 2 of his 4 starts, he showed great courage after being hampered when producing a string finish to produce a fluent win in a lowly rated handicap last time.

He was slow away when 5,50 lengths behind subsequent Investec Cape Derby winner Ertijaal in the Listed Sea Cottage Stakes and looks to have a mammoth task at the weights.

Go With The Lateral

It is difficult to look beyond Unparalleled.

He should confirm his promise at the expense of Imperial Gold.

The Honours

This race is one of the joint features on Saturday’s Turffontein programme, and honours one of the great old school racing administrators of years gone by.

The late Tony Ruffel was a former Steward, Chairman of the Transvaal Owners and Trainers Association, as well as a Chairman of the National Federation of Owners and Trainers(NATFED). He was appointed Chairman of the then Jockey Club of SA in 1981.

His wife Joan made history when becoming the first female Steward in our history when elected to the board of the Newmarket Turf Club.

Past winners:


Tony Ruffel Stakes
 1 Key Decision 53.5 ( 7) 9/2
 2 Mister Assembly 56.0 ( 3) 15/10
 3 Natural Selection 55.5 ( 2) 5/2
 1 Singing Sword 55.0 ( 5) 33/10
 2 Fanyana 58.0 ( 7) 20/1
 3 Look Skyward 52.0 ( 9) 12/1
 1 Announce Speed 56.5 ( 2) 12/1
 2 Rose Window 54.5 ( 9) 16/1
 3 Coastal Rock 54.5 ( 3) 7/1
 1 Horatio 56.0 ( 8) 20/1
 2 Juanfra 56.0 ( 6) 7/2
 3 Carbon Leader 56.0 ( 3) 40/1
 1 Mount Hood 56.0 ( 1) 7/1
 2 Cerise Cherry 57.0 ( 8) 3/1
 3 Captain Scott 56.0 ( 6) 8/1
 1 Pierre Jourdan 56.0 ( 3) 4/1
 2 Galileo’s Galaxy 54.0 ( 7) 15/20
 3 Echohawk 56.0 ( 5) 18/1
 1 Link Man 58.0 ( 4) 33/10
 2 Shea Shea 58.0 ( 5) 16/10
 3 Captain’s Key 55.5 ( 1) 2/1
 1 Pomodoro 58.0 ( 1) 4/1
 2 Governor General 55.5 ( 6) 5/1
 3 Tandragee 57.5 ( 7) 8/1
 1 Fantastic Mr Fox 56.5 (11) 8/1
 2 Zestful 56.0 (10) 16/1
 3 Swift And Strong 56.0 ( 3) 5/1
 1 Bouclette Top 54.0 ( 2) 5/2
 2 Mr Mulliner 54.0 ( 5) 16/1
 3 Chekilli 58.0 ( 1) 7/2

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