Corne Spies produced the magic when the speedy Velvet Verona showed terrific guts and courage to grab the spoils in the R100 000 Flamingo Park Sprint at Kimberley on Monday. The other Spies runner Olympic Owen was also impressive after a long break, and he ran third.
The pace was on from the break in the 1200m dash and the pacy stablemates Velvet Verona and Olympic Owen set the fractions from the jump.
Into the home run Velvet Verona led Derbaas and Pinot Noir, with Olympic Owen relaxed in fourth.
Velvet Verona continued to gallop as Sherman Brown produced Pinot Noir with what looked a match winning move at the 300m marker.
Despite a superb and determined effort from David Rahilly’s Pinot Noir, Fransie Naude kept Velvet Verona at his task to win a cracker.
Velvet Verona got the verdict in a thriller by a head from the flying Pinot Noir to win in a time of 72,38 secs.
The winner’s stablemate Olympic Owen returned from a 36 week break to stay on very smartly for third.
Winning jockey Fransie Naude said he had phoned the owners on the morning of the race to tell them that he would bring the trophy home. He bemusedly observed that there was no trophy.
Naude said that there was a lot of speed in the race early, but that Velvet Verona had led with comfort.
“He also relaxed nicely around the turn, which helped his cause. Sherman (Brown) challenged me early and when I asked, my horse delivered. He will win more and go on from here,” he said.
Velvet Verona was bred by Highlands and is by National Assembly out of the six time winning Grand Slam mare, Grand Velvet Bay.
The 3yo gelding cost R225 000 on the Cape Premier Yearling Sale Book 1 and took his earnings to R300 000. He has won 3 races with 3 places from his 11 starts.