Magner’s Gina – The Orphan Nobody Wanted

From humble beginnings...

Trainer Roy Magner has handled some pretty fine fillies in his long career, and he looks to have another exciting prospect in the shape of three-year-old Emirate Gina, who announced her arrival in the stakes echelons with a sterling victory in last weekend’s Gr3 Tab4Racing Fillies Mile at Turffontein.

History will show that the Zimbabwe-born veteran trained that wonderful racemare Circle Of Life, whose grandam was none other than former Horse of the Year, Tecla Bluff.

1983 Rothmans July - Tecla Bluff (photo: SA Racehorse)

1983 Rothmans July – Tecla Bluff (photo: SA Racehorse)

Twice voted the country’s Champion Older Female, Circle Of Life’s career was highlighted by victory in the Gr1 Garden Province Stakes and in due course, she also became a Gr1 producer as the dam of Premier’s Champions Challenge hero, Deo Volente. Significantly, Roy also trained Mina Salaam, her stakes winning daughter by Medaglia d’Oro.

Then there was Asylum Seeker, whose victory in the (then) Gr1 Golden Slipper and Gr2 Fillies Nursery earned her an Equus award as the Champion Juvenile Filly.

She was subsequently sold to Australia, where she produced Gr1 Australian Oaks runner-up Scarlet Dream, whilst imported daughter Freedom Seeker won her first three starts in the colours of Hassan Adams, and eventually retired a five-time winner.

And let’s not forget Sweet Sanette.

This lightning-fast speedball provided Roy with the first of three Sycamore Sprint victories. She too was exported and joined Tony Millard in Hong Kong where she mixed it up with the best male sprinters, her most auspicious of four Hong Kong wins a defeat of champion sprinter Sacred Kingdom in the Gr3 Bauhinia Sprint Trophy.

However, she enjoyed probably her finest moment at Royal Ascot where she came within a length of an epic British Gr1 sprint when third in the King’s Stand Stakes.

Raymond Danielson returns on Emirate Gina after her maiden stakes win last Friday evening (Pic – JC Photos)

Whether Emirate Gina can add her name to that exalted list, only time will tell. Suffice to say, the daughter of Visionaire has not missed a beat since shedding her maiden tag in June and took her winning tally to three on the bounce in the Fillies Mile. In the process, she underlined her still-untapped potential and as Roy commented: “The fact that she stays well, yes, in time she could end up in that league.”

“She was an orphan foal and perhaps that’s why she has an attitude, one that is very much in your face. She thinks she’s a person and we are her mates,” Roy elaborates. “She’s very sound of body, but as far as her mind goes, we will have to tread carefully.”

Roy’s post-race comments elicited a phone call to the person who foaled her down, former Lammerskraal stud manager Sally Bruss.

“Yes, she was an orphan,” Sally confirmed. “Her dam Dubai Gina died when the filly was just a couple of weeks old. Thankfully, we managed to find her a foster mom, a big, black mare of Glen Kotzen’s called The Which Doctor. Emirate Gina was a high-quality foal and I remember Roy was crazy about her at the National Sale.”

So much so, that he purchased the then yearling filly for R250 000. He recalls: “I bought her on spec but couldn’t place her and ended up racing her with Stuart Robinson and my partner Joanne Callaghan. Stuart and I go back a long way, he was my first patron when I started training in South Africa in 1984!”

Immediate plans for his latest stakes winner are as yet undecided, but the bar will surely be raised, with the Triple Tiara put forward as a long-term aim.

The filly’s first stakes success added further gloss to an already fine pedigree. Her dam, an Australian-bred daughter of Dubai Destination, raced with distinction for trainer Vaughan Marshall and Ken Truter. Successful in the Listed Sun Classique Handicap at three, she also ran third in the Gr1 Woolavington 2000.

Flashback to 2013 – Ilsanpietro (Anthony Delpech in red cap) collars the Dubai Gina to win the Gr2 J&B Jet Stayers

Her death at just age eleven has proven to be a tragic loss, considering she is now the dam of two stakes winners from just four foals. Bye Bye Bombshell, Emirate Gina’s year-older half-sister by Duke Of Marmalade, won last season’s East Cape Oaks.

Even more important, the immediate family came to prominence in a big way last year when the Frankel colt Adayar won the English Derby at Epsom before claiming the Gr1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes. His dam, the Gr3 winner and Gr1 Irish 1000 Guineas second Anna Salai, is a half-sister to Anemometer, the grandam of Emirate Gina.

All things considered, Roy must be more than pleased. A filly he couldn’t place has turned out to be a shrewd purchase, not to mention a valuable asset who is unlikely to stop here.+

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