Sandile Strikes Again

Feature trophy haul grows for young rider

Kuda sponsored Cape-based rider Sandile Mbhele continued his purple patch of feature race winning form when he enjoyed an armchair experience on the Duke Of Marmalade filly Sailing Ship, who scored a runaway victory in Friday’s R150 000 Listed Breeders Guineas at Fairview.

Mbhele won the Listed Ibhayi Stakes on Point Of Sale for the Glen Kotzen team at the same venue a week earlier, and followed up in the Listed Kenilworth Cup on the Candice Bass-Robinson longshot Mercurana in the Mother City 24 hours later.

Sandile Mbhele salutes as Sailing Ship cruises to victory (Pic – Pauline Herman Photography)

On Friday Mbhele had three rides and duly made the most of the Bass-Robinson feature opportunity, as he tracked Fleeced, Brandina and Scarborough Fair after a nice break from a pole position gate on Sailing Ship.

The Cape raider, a powerful Drakenstein bred and owned chestnut daughter of Duke Of Marmalade,  was easy to back at 11-2 with some reservations around her ability to get the mile.

But the highest rated 3yo in the field, she was doing pacework at the top of the straight and won unextended.

Given her head at the  350m, Sailing Ship cruised up just outside of the centre of the track and came home under the hands to give Mrs Bass-Robinson a 100% strike on the day. Th winner pulled clear to score by 5,25 lengths in a time of 98,24 secs.

Yvette Bremner’s Glory Days (73-20) stayed on late, a neck in front of Fleeced (17-2), who faded late.

Mbhele thanked the Bass-Robinson team and said he had been impressed when working the filly a few weeks earlier. He was clearly taken by his mount’s acceleration.

Gavin Smith saddled the winner for the Capetonians.

A daughter of Drakenstein’s five time Gr1 winning Cartier Champion Duke Of Marmalade (Danehill), the winner is out of Fort Wood’s daughter Cutty Sark, who has produced two other winners, and won once at 1400m.

Sailing Ship was outgunned in the Cape Fillies Guineas and the Sceptre Stakes but could go on from here. She has won 2 races with 4 places from 10 starts for stakes of R188 600.

The 22 year old Mbhele, who recently came out of his time, was crowned the Cape apprentice of the year and looks a man to watch. His ride on Mercurana in the Kenilworth Cup was pure magic.

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