Who said the barrier draws are always a gamechanger at Hollywoodbets Greyville? Enigmatic Cape star Grant van Niekerk knocked the maxim out of the park when he steered Canford Cliffs’ daughter Secret Identity to victory from the widest gate in the R175 000 Hollywoodbets Super League Devon Air Stakes at the city track on Saturday.
The modest Van Niekerk who enjoys his fair share of stick, said that he ‘got a bit lucky’ as his charge was slow out and found a position.
Racing in the famous Kommetdieding silks, Van Niekerk produced the goods on the occasion of his first winner for owner Ashwin Reynolds with a gung ho cool ride on the Michelle Rix/Harold Crawford-trained 10-1 shot to get up and beat Gauteng raider Dolcezza (7-1) by half a length in a time of 85,8 secs.
This made it a 1-2 for lady trainers as recently wed Robyn Klaasen saddled the runner-up.
Another Joburg raider in Tamil Tiger (20-1) popped her head into the frame for third.
The favourite Oriental Bouquet was always out of her ground and ran near 7 lengths behind the winner.
In a novel move, owner Ashwin Reynolds challenged all owners to introduce one new owner to the game every year.
Bred by Ridgemont, the winner is a daughter of the farm’s multiple Gr1 winning international stakes producing sire Canford Cliffs (Tagula) out of the four-time winning Antonius Pius mare, Dinesen.
A R130 000 National Yearling Sale purchase, Secret Identity has won 2 of her 3 starts for stakes of R175 000.
The winner’s sire was described by trainer Richard Hannon Snr as “the best I’ve ever had”, the powerful bay Canford Cliffs won seven of 11 starts and never finished out of the first three.
Europe’s dominant miler at three and four, he won no less than five consecutive Gr1 races over the trip. His splendid Gr1 treble of the Irish 2000 Guineas, St James’s Palace Stakes (over multiple Gr1 winner Dick Turpin) and Sussex Stakes (over champion Rip Van Winkle), saw him rated the top three-year-old miler in England and Ireland.
As good, if not better, at four, the bay confirmed his class by winning the Gr1 Lockinge Stakes before defeating the brilliant mare Goldikova in the Gr1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.
He signed off with a second to the mighty Frankel in the Gr1 Sussex Stakes and was voted the champion older miler in Europe in 2011, receiving a Timeform rating of 133.
Retired to Coolmore Stud in 2012, the son of Tagula did shuttle duty between Ireland and Australia until his purchase by Ridgemont.
Exciting times ahead for the winning connections and the Ridgemont team!
Watch the feature replay here: