Andre Nel’s Vodacom Durban July longshot Ngaga, a half-sister to 2011 July winner Igugu, gave her big race prospects a filip with an eyecatching victory in the R150 000 Listed East Coast Cup at Greyville on Saturday.
The well-related lightly-raced daughter of Fastnet Rock responded to a typically finely judged ride by Richard Fourie to register her first stakes success and show that the 2200m of the July could well be within her compass – even though her jockey suggested she ‘quickened like a miler’.
Leading early, Ngaga was relegated to a follower by Royal Uutopiia at the halfway mark.
Fourie kept his cool though and at the top of the straight he went for home as Ngaga grabbed a winning lead, scoring by 1,50 lengths in a time of 124,32 secs.
Gauteng raiders Royal Utopia and Being Fabulous stayed on nicely for second and third respectively.
In an untidy race in the latter stages, the fancied Bass-Robinson runner Leaves Of Grass appeared hesitant to take a tight gap and never got a run, finishing over 9 lengths back.
Ngaga has won 4 races with 5 places from 10 starts for stakes of R341 375.
A valuable broodmare prospect, she is a half sister to 2011 Equus Horse Of The Year, Igugu and was bought on spec by James Bester for A$250 000 at the 2015 Inglis Easter Sale.
By Fastnet Rock out of Zarinia, Ngaga was bred by Kia Ora Stud. Bester has a particular insight into her sire Fastnet Rock, having purchased his dam, Piccadilly Circus, as a yearling.
Ngaga is the sixth foal to race out of the unraced Irish-bred mare Zarinia (Intikhab). While Zarinia’s best produce to date is undoubtedly Igugu, Zarinia has also produced Australian Gr3 Craven Plate winner Honorius (Holy Roman Emperor) and Gr3-placed Sweet Fire (Shamardal) and hails from the outstanding Aga Khan family of undefeated Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner, Zarkava.
“She was, on pedigree and overall physique, a near-million-dollar filly who was going to be crucified in the sale ring for her supposed ‘faults’ of her front limbs,” Bester told the Sporting Post.
He has had much success for Sabine Plattner, having purchased the likes of Laisserfaire, Joie de Grise and many others, including, more recently, Acrostar.
Ngaga remains off the July log pecking order for now, but as trainer Andre Nel rightly points out – there are a few that may not warrant being there!
The next July log is due in midweek.