Here To Stay

Gr2 Gold Bowl

Gorongosa - Gr2 Gold Bowl winner, a serious contender for the leading Champions Season staying races

Gorongosa’s facile win in the Gr2 R500 000 Gold Bowl run over 3200m brought the curtain down on a memorable afternoon for the Mike De Kock- Wilgerbosdrift partnership at Turffontein on Saturday.Two Gr1’s and two Gr2’s are something that most of us aspire to over a lifetime of racing horses. Never mind in the space of under four hours!

We have said it so often before, but Mike De Kock really is in a higher realm of professionalism when it comes to producing the feature race winners that count. He increased his lead at the head of the trainer championship table to something close on R8 million as Phumelela issued the Champions Day stakes cheques on Saturday evening.

On The Move

It is now urban legend that De Kock had to commission a professional removal company to transport his five Graded race trophies from Turffontein to his home on Saturday evening. The Stuttafords Van Lines truck manoeuvred through the Southern Suburbs of Johannesburg as dusk fell over the province and about a half hour after the final race had been won by the tenacious staying mare, Gorongosa.

Blame it on his feed, blame it on his owners, blame it on whoever and whatever you choose. De Kock has the right owners and he gets his horses fit and ready to win. The Montjeu mare Gorongosa was living proof of that fact as she went to post looking a million dollars and bursting with enthusiasm for the 3200m marathon journey that lay ahead.

Nice ‘n Slow

Refined In Fire led from Princess Of Light and Ilsanpietro as the field went past the packed grandstand for the first time. Piere Strydom wasn’t happy with the speed out front and took over the lead from the PE visitor at the 1800m. And then like the astute horseman that he is, Striker proceeded to slow it up even more as they ambled along. This time he was in control.

As the field turned for home, Princess of Light upped the pace and the daughter of Var looked to have plenty of gas in the tank. But Anthony Delpech had been sitting with plenty in reserve and he took Gorongosa into a confident lead at the 500m marker.

Thereafter it was no contest as the five year old stayed on best to win by a widening 3,25 lengths with Corne Spies’ gallant Brazillian-bred filly Heyouneverknow rushing through for a smart second. The latter put the reality of her Kimberley career and her 73 merit rating well to the back of her mind and carries the unofficial title of ‘under sufferance’ performance of the decade.

Piere Strydom would have been disappointed to have been robbed of second place by 0,5 lengths but to be fair  Princess Of Light really didn’t appear to stay the trip. She,nevertheless, ran a big-hearted race on the day and underscored the courage and versatility of the leading Avontuur Stud stallion.

Top Class

Gorongosa is a lethally talented campaigner over ground and has won eight of her eleven starts. She has earned R786 000.

Bred in Ireland by Lynch Bages Ltd, Gorongosa is by the Sadler’s Wells stallion Montjeu who died at Coolmore at the end of last month. He famously won  Ascot’s King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in a glittering career that included an eleven win tally from his sixteen starts.He has sired three Epsom Derby winners and may yet achieve four in eight years, as his son Camelot is the 5-2 favourite for this year’s race in June.

Gorongosa is out of the French-bred Ezzoud mare Parvenue. Her dam won just once from her four UK starts and extraordinarily that was over 1200m. Like so many of the Wilgerbosdrift females, she can only add tremendous value to our throughbred gene pool in the years ahead.

For now, she looks a serious contender for the leading Champions Season staying races. She has won at Greyville and will be a major campaigner for top honours in the Gr1 Ladbrokes Canon Gold Cup run there at the end of this season.



Gold Bowl (SAf-G2) (4/28)
Turffontein, South Africa, April 28, R500.000, 3200m, turf, good, 3.27.21 (CR 3.20.71).
1 -GORONGOSA (IRE), 53.5, b m 5, Montjeu (IRE) – Parvenue (FR) by Ezzoud (IRE). Owner Wilgerbosdrift; breeder Lynch Bagar Ltd (IRE); trainer M F de Kock; jockey A Delpech (R312.500)
2 -Heyouneverknow (BRZ), 52.0, b f 4, Round Hill (BRZ) – Umakemebetter (BRZ) by Bright Again 
3 -Princess Of Light (SAF), 55.5, b f 4, Var – Star Of Arcole (SAF) by Foveros (GB)
Margins: 3¼, ½, nose
Also ran: Silver Dice (SAF) 52.0, Ilsanpietro (BRZ) 62.0, A King Is Born (SAF) 53.5, Monseur Et Madame (SAF) 52.0, Magical (SAF) 54.0, Refined In Fire (SAF) 53.0, World Record (SAF) 52.0


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