Soldier Of Fortune

'We're chasing Hear The Drums' record'

Tara Laing’s 7yo Dynasty gelding Drill Sargeant is one of the toughest gallopers in training and he showed his true mettle with a fighting performance to win the R100 000 Lakeside Handicap at his half century of career starts at Fairview on Friday.

Drill Sargeant

Drill Sargeant (Raymond Danielson) storms up late to nab Zoo Biscuit (Karl Zechner) in the shadow of the post (Pic – Coastal Photos)

The word from the Laing yard is that the Jooste’s grand stayer – their first horse for Tara –  is a bit like his trainer. Apparently he has his moods and likes to throw his toys out the cot from time to time.

Tara Laing - training feat

Tara Laing – training feat

And the ‘little horse with the big heart’s’ behaviour in the week preceeding the 2400m non black-type feature apparently showed that he was ready to run a cracker.

“He is a temperamental fellow – but when he is in that mood, then I know he is well. I must take my hat off to Chris our farrier. I heard swearing and cursing and water-buckets flying around while he was being shod. Chris said he is getting worse! And to Freeman who rides him every day – he hangs on around his ears but just does it all with a big smile,” said an ecstatic Tara.

The joys of everyday life in a racing stable aside, all the credit must go to the no-nonsense fiery horsewoman from Scotland who has enjoyed terrific success with the leading SA owner’s string and has kept the marathon man on a roll – it is no mean feat for a genuine staying horse to win this amount of races.

“Tell Tjoppies I’m chasing Hear The Drums’ record,” chirped the winning trainer in a reference to record-breaking winning sprinting son of Gold Press who on set a new South African record on Friday 23 July 2010 for most number of wins by a racehorse – and ended up a 34 time winner!

The race itself panned out well…

With Justin Snaith’s smart Go Deputy colt Arezzo going off a warm order 19-20 favourite, the sweaty and naughty Drill Sargeant, who gave jockey Raymond Danielson a torrid time in the preliminaries, was allowed to drift out in the betting and started a rather generous 6-1.

Zoo Biscuit was taken to the front from the word go by Karl Zechner and the pair looked to have a massive winning shout as they plugged on into the final 400m, with Arezzo going up and down, and Drill Sargeant taking forever to find his feet.

Raymond Danielson - confident ride

Raymond Danielson – confident ride

But Raymond Danielson knows his mount well and he brought him from his neatly tucked rail position with beautiful timing to get up and nab the luckless, and very plucky. Zoo Biscuit by 0,25 lengths in a time of 150,79 secs.

Arezzo went one-paced late and he clung on for PA punters a further 1,25 lengths back in third.

The gallant Drill Sargeant has now won 14 races from 50 starts with 18 places and R868 875 in stakes.

That’s not too bad for a horse who left the Snaith yard in Cape Town a modest one-time winner in 2012.

He cost R170 000 on the National Yearling Sale, and was bred by Carl and Amanda de Vos.

He is by Dynasty out of the champion Foveros mare, Star Of Arcole.

Star Of Arcole was crowned SA champion broodmare in 2014 and when the dual Oaks winning Ash Cloud won the 2014 Gr1 Wilgerbosdrift SA Oaks, she became her dam’s third Oaks winning progeny.

She had been preceded by Arcola (also SA Oaks) and Princess Of Light (Gold Circle Oaks).

Star Of Arcole is out of former Gr2 Natal Oaks winner Arcole – herself dam of Gr2 SA Oaks third place finisher, Rose Of Arcole.  Star Of Arcole’s sire, Foveros, himself sired SA Oaks winner Fast Break.

The day was a memorable one for young apprentice Lyle Hewitson who rode his first winner in the very next race.

bsa graduate_web winner

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