No Place Like Home

Aussie bred Wylie Hall scores in R150 000 Listed Derby Trial Handicap

Home Run. Wylie Hall (MJ Odendaal) finishes full of running to win the Listed Derby Trial Handicap

Home Run. Wylie Hall (MJ Odendaal) finishes full of running to win the Listed Derby Trial Handicap

Australian bred horses won four of the nine feature races on the South African racing programme over the past weekend. One of the most impressive was Michael Leaf’s Wylie Hall, who signalled his Derby aspirations with a smooth win in the R150 000 Listed Derby Trial at Turffontein on Saturday.

Statistics can be misleading, but the Australian breds made a forward showing despite obviously being outnumbered.

In the nine features under review, there were 70 SA  breds competing against 7 Australian breds. That is sobering, but it may just be a reflection of how well South Africans pick them Down Under.

Wylie Hall was winning his second race from just five starts, after a very smart running on second behind Bay Of Bengal in the Egoli Mile last time out. He has earned at all of his starts.

A $205,000 Magic Millions purchase by Andy Williams Worldwide Bloodstock from the draft of Newhaven Park, Wylie Hall is a half-brother to Gr I winning sprinter Absolute Champion and is the seventh winner from Ideal Planet mare Beauty Belle, whose family features Group I winners Grand Armee, Drum, Anamato and Dealer Principal.

The race was run at an easy pace as Top Command led  The King And I, Balse, Wild One and Antarctic Call.

Top Command continued to lead into the home straight, with The King And I and Balse  looking very dangerous.

Into the stampede of the final 400m, Wiley Hall, burst down the middle as Balse and The King and I went one paced.

Wylie Hall, who started at  5 to 1, went on to win by a half length in a time of 124,22 secs. That is over some 4 seconds outside of the course record.

Despite being baulked, the well backed Wild One ran on well down the inside rail for second

Sean Tarry’s The King  And I was up with the action for most of the race, and dug deep to stay on for third. He is interestingly a son of top sprinter Tobe Or Nottobe.

Marwing’s other runner, Gothic, caught the eye when dashing through quietly from some way off for a very good fourth place.

Winning trainer Weiho Marwing said that he was pleased with the win as the son of Redoute’s Choice cost owner Michael Leaf a ‘hefty packet.’

“I am very happy with his progress and will go for the Derby next. That race has always eluded me somehow, but I have a few runners this year and  I will be chasing it,” he laughed.

Winning jockey MJ Odendaal said that he had always felt bullish about his prospects:

“The amazing thing is how some of the young horses continue to improve and this one is still on the up. He gives one a nice feel. But I must say full marks to Weiho (Marwing). He has been patient and taken him one day at a time and given him plenty of space to mature. He is a nice prospect.”

Those are inspiring words coming from a jockey who has been riding big winners for many years.

Wylie Hall has won 2 of his 5 races, with 3 places for stakes of R186 250.

Owner Michael Leaf named Wylie Hall after the street where he grew up. They say there is no place like home. This could be his big horse.

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