After taking some flak just seven days earlier at the same venue, jockey Calvin Habib silenced his detractors in the best way possible with a well-taken Varsfontein Stud-bred feature double at Turffontein on Saturday.
Habib was the man in the irons when Sandringham Summit was narrowly beaten by the top-class Main Defender in the Betway Graham Beck Stakes last Saturday.
But he bounced back with a vengeance winning the Listed National Colour Stakes on Golden Sickle, and then booked the improved and well-backed Atticus Finch’ berth in the Betway Summer Cup in three weeks time – both rides being brave efforts from the front.
A revelation since his gelding, and now a winner four of his five subsequent outings, Atticus Finch scored his first win over 1800m as he went all the way to win the R400 000 Betway Gr3 Victory Moon Stakes at Turffontein on Saturday.
Atticus Finch (1-1) kicked on again to hold off the late finishing Electric Gold (8-1) by 1,25 lengths in a time of 111,36 secs.
In a blanket finish, Billy Bowlegs (16-1) stayed on for third, just ahead of Litigation (11-2), who looked to be caught tight between runners late in the race.
Twelve of the thirteen starters are Betway Summer Cup entries and this was a likely final run before the big one on 25 November.
An elated Calvin Habib confirmed that they had initiated ‘the plan’ some six months ago and now have one more chapter to complete.
“I saw nobody wanted to lead. I took him to the front. He has a big heart and changed legs late as he really didn’t want to get beat,” added Habib.
Trainer Alec Laird was clearly pleased with the result.
“To win this is pretty good. I am very pleased to have won the Victory Moon again. And Atticus Finch gets better looking every time he wins!” said the veteran conditioner.
Enjoy the replay:
A R150 000 National Yearling Sale buy, the winner was a second feature success on the afternoon for the high-riding Varsfontein Stud.
A son of South Africa’s current national log-leading sire Master Of My Fate (Jet Master), Atticus Finch is out of the Caesour mare Alexia.
Now a winner of 5 races with 3 places from 9 starts, the 4yo took his stakes to R565 125 for thrilled owners Lance Clark, Gary Basel, Gary Cornwall & Phil Gregory, who celebrated their maiden Gr3 win together.
Master Of My Fate has eight lots at the 2023 November Two Year Old Sale, including a three-parts brother (Lot 16) to dual Gr1 Summer Cup winner Master Sabina, and a colt (Lot 109) out of Gr1 Golden Slipper winner For The Lads.