Pathfork Gelding Stamps His Authority

Big victory for KZN-based Nathan Kotzen

After a string of top-class feature race places, the Nathan Kotzen-trained Royal Victory finally provided his supporters with a stress-free victory when he cruised home under a motionless and posing Smanga Khumalo to win the R250 000 Gr3 Tony Ruffel Stakes at Turffontein on the Monday public holiday.

A warm order favourite, Royal Victory (1-3) cruised forward at the 300m, and with the popular ‘Bling’ not touching the crop, the son of Sandown-based stallion Pathfork (Distorted Humor) accelerated ahead to beat his four opponents in effortless fashion.

Royal Victory and Smanga Khumalo didn’t break into a sweat! (Pic – JC Photos)

The official win margin was 3,75 lengths with the winner clocking an unpressured 86,66 secs.

Arividicio (6-1) was well beaten in second, with the pacemaking Golden Prospect (20-1) a quarter length back in third.

While the scratching of Sean Tarry’s Gr1 winner Thunderstruck undoubtedly took some of the lustre off the prospect of a showdown, Royal Victory could really not have been more impressive.

Smanga Khumalo said that the small set of blinkers had done the trick.

“He won with plenty in hand and this will give him the confidence to go forward,” added the Wilgerbosdrift-Mauritzfontein-sponsored rider.

Trainer Nathan Kotzen labelled the winner a straightforward horse to train. He thanked his former boss Mike de Kock who had looked after Royal Victory after his Dingaans run.

Bred by Ambiance Stud, Royal Victory was a 15th stakes winner for Ridgemont’s Distorted Humor stallion Pathfork, Ireland’s Champion 2YO Colt of 2010 and is out of the four-time winning Kahal mare, Kailani.

A very smart R90 000 buy off the National Yearling Sale, he has now won 2 races with 5 places from 7 starts for stakes of R463 750.

Part-owner Pieter Victor, who suffered ill health last year, said that this was kind of moment was the reason that people own horses.

The Gauteng Guineas is next on the agenda for Royal Victory.

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