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Ringo – Star Of The Show At Kenilworth

Tenth win for the son of Rock Of Rochelle

Despite being rocked by Piet Botha’s 6yo ‘Ringo’ at Kenilworth on Sunday, Justin Snaith’s class act Belgarion is very much on track for the Hollywoodbets Durban July after finding a late finish to be beaten a short head in a 1500m Pinnacle Stakes at Kenilworth.

Rockin’ Ringo puts his head down under Luyolo Mxothwa as Grant van Niekerk chases on Belgarion down the inside (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

In a race that saw a good few Pick 6 tickets in the bin, the Piet Botha -trained Rockin’ Ringo, affectionately known as ‘Skollie’ to those closest to him, registered the tenth win of his career, when digging deep after looking like a deer in the headlights at the 250m marker, to record a sensational victory over the Snaith’s 2020 Durban July winner.

Ringo, rated a 99 prior to his win, beat the 130 rated son of Dynasty in a thriller.

Part owner Ron Caris was on track with Nicole and Piet Botha to lead the Rock Of Rochelle gelding in, and the joy of the Dare 2 Dream team was tangible.

Nicole and Piet Botha lead Rockin’ Ringo in with co-owner Ron Caris (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

An emotional Piet Botha told the Sporting Post that Sunday’s Pinnacle Stakes success for the stable favourite was a new highlight in his training career.

“The pride and sense of achievement of bringing an unfashionably-bred, dare I say ‘chuckout’, to the point where he has won 10 races and is clearly still loving his racing, gives us all a reason to get up early in the morning. The fact that he dug so deep and found more to beat a horse of Belgarion’s class, just makes the victory so much more special. Sure, I realise that 1500m is on the short side for Justin Snaith’s horse. But we will take the win! I am indebted to owners like Ron Caris and Barry Nel for the support. This is really very special and we are so proud of him,” Piet told the Sporting Post.

When asked if he hadn’t felt weak at the knees when Rockin’ Ringo, flanked by the classy Belgarion, hit the front after Captain Of Stealth struck a brickwall, Piet said that Keanan Steyn had done all the work, but that Luyolo Mxothwa had won six races on the gelding, and somehow brought the best out in his star.

“Him and Louis get on so well. And he knows just how to bring the best out of Ringo. Hitting the front early brings out the fighter in him. Did you see how he drops down so low – he hates getting beaten! Wow. I will savour this moment for a long time,” added the former jockey, who has moved base a couple of hundred metres from the Milnerton barns , to a revamped work-in-progress at the yard former occupied by Cape Champion, Joey Ramsden.

Piet and his team have introduced a novel flag initiative, pictured above, that proudly flutters in the breeze with their latest winning owners silks shown off to the world, passing by on the busy Koeberg Road.

Rockin’ Ringo has a special place in the hearts of his owners and the Botha family. He was the very first of a humble starting string of nine horses.

Today the Bothas have grown dramatically, but Piet has never forgotten the day the Hemel ‘N Aarde Stud-bred youngster stepped off the float.

“I thought, oh my goodness, no, what an unimposing little guy,” he told us recently.

The youngster wasn’t anything to look at, and while he was out of a winning Jet Master mare, he wasn’t exactly commercially bred to hit six figure telephone numbers on the sales boards either.

Barry Nel sent him into training and suggested Piet see how he goes – and even maybe find him a nice home with a little girl at a local pony club, who might love and enjoy him.

Ten wins and a thousand thrills later, he has proved to be a helluva racehorse.

He owes nobody anything and Piet and the owners will play it race by race.

“He has pulled up so well and is full of the joys of spring today (Monday). There is a 1200m race on 25 June. That’s not ideal, but we are not under pressure,” laughs Piet.

Jono Snaith told the Sporting Post that Belgarion, who was dropped to a 128 after the run, was ‘most certainly’ on track to step out at Hollywoodbets Greyville in the big one on 2 July.

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2 comments on “Ringo – Star Of The Show At Kenilworth

  1. David Stephen says:

    Congrats to Ron, Barry and Piet. Fantastic achievement. Love the idea of flying the flag with the colours of the latest winner . Piet is always looking for something new to make the game more enjoyable .

  2. Theo Roelofsz says:

    Congratulations on which I thought would be a good thing on his previous runs.Baratheon after watching him and the longer distance I expect to go extremely close to winning.

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