One Year: One Crown – One Tiara

Triple Crown & Triple Tiara in 2021 - what a feat!

The 2021 racing year will be remembered by many for an historical first, that of three-year-olds Malmoos and War Of Athena stepping into the history books as the newly-crowned Triple Crown and Triple Tiara winners, a feat never achieved before in a single season.

Muzi Yeni and War Of Athena in typical pose (Pic- JC Photos)

Triple Tiara winner War Of Athena has illuminated this wonderful sport like few others. She first caught the eye as a juvenile when beaten a neck by champion Anything Goes in the Gr1 Thekwini Stakes. Building on that promising start, she would take owners Roy and Rose Waterman-Wentzel on an exhilarating journey during a stellar three-year-old campaign.

The diminutive daughter of Cape Guineas winner Act Of War prepped for the Triple Tiara with a defeat of Gr1 winner Queen Supreme in the Gr2 Ipi Tombe Challenge before beating old rival Anything Goes in the Gr3 Three Troikas Stakes.

The first leg of the Triple Tiara, the Gr2 Gauteng Fillies Guineas, featured the anticipated rematch between the two three-year-olds, yet War Of Athena again proved her superiority, scoring by the best part of two lengths.

It was more of the same in the Gr1 Wilgerbosdrift SA Fillies Classic, where she struck the front 300m out and cruised to another dominant success.

As expected, Paul Matchett’s charge clearly proved a cut above her overmatched rivals in the final leg, the Gr2 Wilgerbosdrift SA Oaks. Relaxed early on, she made rapid progress from off the pace and having claimed the advantage, went on to score with authority to join champions Igugu, Cherry On The Top and Summer Pudding as the fourth Triple Tiara winner.

Dubbed the ‘Iron Lady’ of South African racing, War Of Athena returned two months later to score a scintillating victory in the Gr1 Woolavington 2000 at Hollywoodbets Greyville. That was her seventh success of the season and second at the elite level. Having dominated her division, it came as no surprise that she was named the Champion Three-Year-Old Filly.

Her owners have reportedly refused sizeable offers for their star asset, who was snapped up for a trifling R30 000 as a breeze up from breeders Summerhill Stud and has to date accumulated more than R1,9-million in career earnings.

In contrast, War Of Athena’s price tag pales in comparison to that of the late Sheikh Hamdan’s Triple Crown winner Malmoos, who cost R4,4 million as a National Sales yearling.

The Varsfontein-bred colt impressed from the moment he stepped onto the racetrack and by the time he lined up for the Gr1 Cape Guineas, counted both the Gr3 Graham Beck and Gr2 Concorde Stakes amongst an unbeaten four-win streak. Sent off a warm favourite, he lost that unblemished record by finishing ninth, four lengths off the winner Russian Rock.

Malmoos cruises in under Luke Ferraris to win the SA Triple Crown (Pic- JC Photos)

However, he firmly put that disappointment behind him with a game victory in the Gr2 Gauteng Guineas and kept his Triple Crown dreams alive when he forged away in the straight to land the second leg, the Gr1 SA Classic, by two lengths.

Trainer Mike de Kock had always maintained that the son of Captain Al would improve with each leg of the Triple Crown, and so it proved. Malmoos made it look super easy with a dominant romp in the final leg, the Gr1 SA Derby, where he ran away from his rivals to score by an imperious five lengths.

Sadly, that was to be the colt’s last visit to the winner’s enclosure. Rested following his fifth place in the Gr1 Premier’s’ Champions Challenge in May, Malmoos resurfaced five months later and has yet to show his earlier brilliance in three disappointing starts.

Barring the ‘unkindest cut’ of gelding, we may well have seen the last of this handsome individual. As a well-bred Triple Crown winner and likely to be the last Gr1 winning colt sired by Captain Al, he rates a valuable stallion prospect.

War Of Athena meanwhile continues on her winning ways and has captured two of three starts this season, the most recent of which a gutsy win over the Turffontein mile. Blessed with the heart of lion, she looks set to make her presence felt wherever she goes.

No matter what lies in store for either War Of Athena or Malmoos, theirs was a rare achievement, one which is unlikely to be repeated any time soon.

Have Your Say - *Please Use Your Name & Surname

Comments Policy
The Sporting Post encourages readers to comment in the spirit of enlightening the topic being discussed, to add opinions or correct errors. All posts are accepted on the condition that the Sporting Post can at any time alter, correct or remove comments, either partially or entirely.

All posters are required to post under their actual name and surname – no anonymous posts or use of pseudonyms will be accepted. You can adjust your display name on your account page or to send corrections privately to the EditorThe Sporting Post will not publish comments submitted anonymously or under pseudonyms.

Please note that the views that are published are not necessarily those of the Sporting Post.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments



Popular Posts