Rachel’s Eye For A Handsome Profit!

Grandstand finish to first leg of SA Triple Crown

South African champion apprentice Rachel Venniker registered another milestone on her fast growing cv when she produced a courageous ride to outgun former SA champion Smanga Khumalo in a thrilling finish to the R1 million WSB Gr2 Gauteng Guineas at Turffontein on Saturday.

A  far more experienced rider on a more exposed feature campaigner, Smanga Khumalo looked like he had timed his run to perfection on the Nathan Kotzen-trained Royal Victory.

But Miss Venniker wasn’t letting a golden opportunity to grab her maiden Gr2 success slip through her fingers!

Rachel Venniker pushes Eye Of The Prophet down the inside of Royal Victory (Smanga Khumalo) in a thriller (Pic – JC Photos)

On a day where surprise results were the order of proceedings, Eye Of The Prophet (33-1) completed a 3800-1 feature treble when he got the better of Royal Victory (5-1) by a nose in a time of 99,17 secs.

When the two came together late, both riders had their crops in their outside hands, with Royal Victory lugging across and appearing to carry Eye Of The Prophet off a straight course. But Rachel made it easy for the Stipes as she managed to hang on.

The rest were well beaten, with Electric Gold (25-1) completing the trifecta.

Jimmy Don (10-1) was a half length back in fourth, with Anfields Rocket (8-1) making his way from last, to bank the R25 000 fifth cheque.

The highly vaunted Shoemaker, having his first start since the Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas,  was taken up to lead but faded out to last. He is something of an enigma and the betting public may well have lost any faith in him.

A beaming Rachel Venniker was out of breath but clearly thrilled.

“I had my head down and asked the guys if Smanga had caught me. I am so grateful to Mr Paul Matchett and the Kapnias family have given me such chances. I love this horse!” she added.

Trainer Paul Matchett said that Rachel and Eye Of The Prophet have built a bond. “They really get on so well. Thanks to my team – and owners Matthew and Anthony Kapnias missed their first Gr2 win – they are in Tanzania. But we are all thrilled!”

A R200 000 National Yearling Sale purchase, Eye Of the Prophet is raced by Messrs M J Kapnias & A M Kapnias and was bred Patricia Devine Investments (Pty) Ltd from champion More Than Ready sire Gimmethegreenlight (AUS) out of the one-time winning Fort Wood mare, Umlilo.

He has now won 3 races with 5 places from 12 starts for stakes of R884 500.

The World Sports Betting SA Triple Crown for 3-year-olds is the richest series of races in Africa and comprises Saturday’s feature as well as the R1 5 million WSB Gr1 SA Classic to be run over 1800m at Turffontein on Saturday 4 March.

The third leg is the R1,5 million WSB Gr1 SA Derby to be run over 2450m at Turffontein on Saturday 1 April.

A bonus of R2 million will be paid to connections of the horse that wins all three legs of the WSB SA Triple Crown.

Watch the replay here:

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