The President’s Point

Gr1 President’s Champions Challenge at Turffontein on Saturday 28 April

Rock Solid: Europa Point (Anthony Delpech) is full of running to win the Gr1 President's Champions Challenge

Six wins from six runs this season, including her second Gr1 race on the trot. The beautifully bred Europa Point continues to up her game as she climbs the ladder to fame and fortune. Her win in Saturday’s R2 million Gr1 President’s Champions Challenge was her best performance to date.

The Irish-bred mare’s owner Mary Slack suggested in the post-race interview that Europa Point was ‘almost too good for the local stallions’, when questioned about her future plans. That comment may well have sounded somewhat aloof in a country where we boast many fine stallions. But one has the impression that Mike De Kock was thinking international racecourses rather than paddocks when he added that there may well be something planned for her.

Pedestrian Pace

Trainer Tyrone Zackey is a seasoned campaigner and he has already forgotten what many of his colleagues have yet to learn. He is a thinker and came to the races with a plan to dethrone the spoilt brats from the other side of the track. He sent two runners to post and it was clear early on what the ‘ Zack-Attack’ entailed.

Robbie Fradd had  Zackey’s Kahal gelding Smanjemanje  on a Sunday afternoon window shopping expedition out front by three lengths from his stablemate Galanthus. The slow pace was their one serious chance of upsetting the apple cart. The cheek-pieced Bravura followed these two with Flirtation, Sage Throne, Seal, English Garden and Safwan following next, with the two very able mares, Europa Point and Dancewiththedevil bringing up the rear.

They maintained much the same order as they climbed the hill and turned for home but it was here that Anthony Delpech made his match winning move to get closer to the action.  He gave his mount a crackor two and she responded instantaneously to coast forward and assert herself. Piere Strydom looked to have other ideas momentarily on Galanthus, while Smanjemanje had switched from canter to gallop mode and wasn’t throwing in the towel.

Below-Par

But the class counted in the end and Europa Point came away in the final 200m to beat Galanthus by 1 length with Smanjemanje a further head back in third. The KZN challenger Sage Throne looked dangerous but finished tamely for fourth and 1,75 lengths behind the winner.

Europa Point started at 28-10 and won this race in a slowish time of 125,22 secs. This was an extremely good effort in the circumstances and her trainer observed afterwards that she really was the only horse running on at the end.

The disappointing performances were delivered by Dancewiththedevil and the Cape challenger Bravura. St John Gray’s mare Dancewiththedevil would not have enjoyed the slow pace  and she finished in a humble eighth spot and 5,25 lengths off the winner. She doesn’t exactly owe the former Lawyer anything at this stage anyway.

Bravura on the other hand was reported to be working well in the build-up and was confidently expected to go very close. The experiment of wearing the cheek-pieces appeared to fail as he dropped out to run an uncharacteristically poor race in what was his worst ever track performance. He finished stone last and 12 lengths behind Europa Point.

The Mike Bass visitor English Garden also never showed while former Summer Cup winner Flirtation had every chance from her 1 draw but failed to run on.

Overseas

Europa Point has won nine of her thirteen starts for earnings of R2 350 000. Her last two wins were both Gr1 races.

She was bred in Ireland by Tom Molan and Westbury Bloodstock and is by Rock Of Gibraltar .   She is out of the Woodman mare Gorband, a half-sister to stallion Kabool.

De Kock hinted at an international campaign for Europa Point, but with her year younger stablemate Igugu leaving our shores soon, we hope that this very talented mare stays behind. If only to have a bash at the Vodacom Durban July.

.

Champions Challenge (SAf-G1) (4/28)
Turffontein, South Africa, April 28, R2 million, 2000m, turf, good,  2.05.22 (CR 2.00.13).
1- EUROPA POINT (IRE), 57.5, ch m 5, Rock Of Gibraltar (IRE) – Gorband by Woodman. Owner Wilgerbosdrift Ltd; breeder T Molan & Westbury Bloodstock (IRE); trainer M F de Kock; jockey A Delpech (R1.250.000)
2- Galanthus (SAF), 57.5, b g 5, Silvano (GER) – Al Jestic (SAF) by Al Mufti 
3- Smanjemanje (SAF), 58.5, b g 5, Kahal (GB) – In Style (SAF) by Model Man (SAF)
Margins: 1, nose, ¾ 
Also ran: Sage Throne (SAF) 57.5, Seal (SAF) 60.0, Safwan (AUS) 58.5, English Garden (SAF) 60.0, Dancewiththedevil (SAF) 57.5, Flirtation (SAF) 57.5, Buy And Sell (SAF) 57.5, Bravura (SAF) 58.5

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