While the day was all about the goodwill of giving, the script didn’t quite go according to a charitable plan for many punters and Summer Cup hopes in the R600 000 Gr2 Emperors Palace Peermont Charity Mile at Turffontein on Saturday. Few of us saw a lightly raced troubled 7yo as a likely winner in the company. But we got this one wrong!
The Sansui Summer Cup is just three weeks away and there would have been a few hopes and dreams laying in tatters on the Turffontein turf as the party continued late into the evening of what was a largely memorable day of racing.
Royal Zulu Warrior had after all, bumped some really smarts sorts here.
Gr1 winners, a Triple Tiara winner, a Derby winner, a Guineas winner, a Summer Cup winner, a few expensive buys.
But the middle of the road KZN trainer with the middle of the road jockey and some four legged Aussie firepower sauntered into town, and blew the whole lot away.
For some reason Royal Zulu Warrior was being tried on Saturday at a mile for the first time in his career. But if it isn’t broken, why fix it? He was sprinting just fine.
The mile race went perfectly according to plan for the winning connections, with Sean Cormack taking Wagner to the lead from Love Struck and Royal Zulu Warrior.
Potala Palace and Cherry On The Top were further back, with Glorious Jet and Whiteline Fever settled in midfield.
Halfway down the home stretch Love Struck plugged on but was tiring as Zechner got to work in the Moodley silks.
With little else sparking, Royal Zulu Warrior had galloped clear in a matter of strides and was in no obvious danger of being caught.
Royal Zulu Warrior went on strongly to win by 0,75 lengths in a time of 95,80 secs.
Our dark horse Glorious Jet showed the advantage of fitness and a handy galloping weight to stay on smartly for second, while the recently improved Killua Castle ran on strongly for third.
Jockey Karl Zechner said that he had always felt that his mount would go further and that he had begged the connections to race him here.
Trainer Kumaran Naidoo said that Royal Zulu Warrior had always shown good ability, and a team effort and patience had been at the root of his being nursed along.
Naidoo paid tribute to his blonde assistant Candice Dawson, who came up to collect the owner trophy and confirmed that Royal Zulu Warrior was one of her favourite horses. This is underlined by the fact that the gelding is her profile pic on her personal Facebook page!
Amidst the celebrations, the disappointments, for want of a better word, were there too.
Yorker, Cherry On The Top and Wylie Hall finished fifth, sixth and seventh respectively. That wasn’t a train smash, just about five lengths away. There is hope.
But it looks bleaker for Potala Palace (11,25 lengths), Wagner (13,75 lengths) and then War Horse, who ran stone last.
The four-year-old gelding was bred by Attunga Stud in New South Wales and is by Vinery stallion Mossman from the New Zealand-bred mare Dark Blue. He won his first three races on the trot when trained by Tony Rivalland in KwaZulu-Natal.
Rivalland had purchased him at the Magic Millions Sale after he had passed through the ring for a highest bid of $35 000 after failing his reserve. The Australians, always seemingly looking for that precocious streak of speed, were obviously not impressed by the immature backward colt.
Royal Zulu Warrior’s sire Mossman won a Grade 1 over a mile as a late two-year-old and as a three-year-old was placed in Grade 1’s from a mile up to 2 450m.
His damsire Wallenda won a Grade 1 over 2000m.
However, his dam Dark Blue won four races over distances from 1200-1400m.
He has now won 6 races with 2 places from 11 starts for total stakes of R731 925.
The Summer Cup has never been won by a retreaded sprinter. Royal Zulu Warrior could rewrite the fairytale in a few weeks from now!
The winning charity was the Mphanzela Primary After Care whose patron for the day was well known TV personality, Gerry Rantseli Elsdon.Gr2 Charity Mile (SAf-Gr2) Turffontein, South Africa, November 2, R600k, 1600m, turf, good, 1.35.08 ROYAL ZULU WARRIOR (AUS), 55.5, b g 7, Mossman (AUS) – Dark Blue (NZ) by Wallenda (USA). Owner Mr Roy Moodley; bred in Australia; trainer KG Naidoo; jockey K Zechner Glorious Jet (SAF), 52.5, b g 5, Jet Master (SAF) – Cuddle Me (SAF) by Elliodor (FR) Killua Castle (AUS), 53.0, b g 4, Churchill Downs (AUS) – Prayers’n’promises (AUS) by Encosta De Lago (AUS) Margins: ¾, 2¼, 1¼