Treble Birthday Joy For Van Vuuren

Puerto Manzano's gutsy display in Gr3 feature

Trainer Johan Janse van Vuuren capped a happy 41st birthday celebration of note at Turffontein on Monday when he saddled three winners, including his Argentinian hero Puerto Manzano who made it a double for the stable when winning the R250 000 Gr3 London News Stakes.

Coming in fresh off his courageous victory in the Betway Summer Cup last November, the Wernars’ silked Puerto Manzano got the better of a late-race spat with the clearly smart 3yo Electric Gold to win the third of the Turffontein public holiday features.

Puerto Manzano (De Melo) gets the better of Electric Gold (Muzi Yeni) and Total Protection (Ryan Munger) to show his courage (Pic – JC Photos)

While there was some concern from both the stable and racing observers in the preliminaries that the gelding was not stretching out as fluidly as they may have liked, the 5yo dug deep when it counted to make light of the 9kg weight differential.

In the process he kept the 6-10 hopes of his supporters alive and kicking when he beat the 4-1 Electric Gold – under a determined Muzi Yeni – by 0,40 lengths in a time of 113,33 secs.

Winning jockey Keagan de Melo has certainly bounced back from his year end week-long suspension and took his benchmark season tally to 124.

After stablemate Second Base’s victory in this feature in 2021, it was a happy moment for the birthday boy Van Vuuren who said his charge had now earned a nice break.

“Keagan de Melo had said he wasn’t 100% and full marks to the physio’s for having him ready today. We will give him a month off and then probably bring him back for a sharpener in the Hawaii Stakes, before tackling the Horse Chestnut and Champion Stakes,” said the happy trainer.

The Argentinian-bred’s back story from his acquisition by Justin Vermaak in the Argentine, to his present day status as a very reliable galloper and a stable favourite, has been told before.

Puerto Manzano has now won 7 races with 8 places from 20  starts for stakes of R2 655 600.

He was bred by Dr Ignacio Pavlovsky at Haras Carampangue and is a son of Speightstown’s Gr1 Hollywood Derby winning son Seek Again out of the two time winning Orpen mare, Poser.

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