Trio Of Eyecatchers – Trainers Tell Of Season Plans

Three horses who look to be worth following

Good horses never fail to set pulses racing. That much was evident at last weekend’s Turffontein meeting, where a trio of smart winners spiced up the day’s action.

In the 1000m third race, all eyes were on Mike de Kock-trained filly Iphiko, who has not looked back since cracking her maiden in late August and came into the race with a three-race win streak in tow.

Iphiko – beat the boys and on the up! (Pic – JC Photos)

Notwithstanding the fact that she was taking on male rivals, the Hollywood Syndicate-owned four-year-old started well in the red and once again, she put up a sterling effort.

On the lead virtually from the jump, she never saw a rival and kept up her relentless gallop to win with the minimum of fuss. This sparkling all-the-way victory, her fourth in a row, also confirmed that black type should be well within her scope, prompting De Kock to remark on Twitter: “Looks like we’ll have to set our sights higher with Iphiko.”

Remarkably, the filly’s winning spree came after an eight-month layoff. Hollywood Racing Manager Anthony Delpech elaborates: “We found out she had a niggling back problem, and she was sent to the farm. It was the right decision; she came back a different horse. She has turned the corner and is doing everything we ask of her.”

“Mike has earmarked the Listed Gardenia Stakes on 5 November and although opposition will be stronger, we would obviously like to get some black type into her. Depending on that run, she will probably then go to Cape Town, but at the moment, it’s one step at a time.”

Hats off to Team Valor’s Barry Irwin for breeding this talented daughter of perennial hot sire Trippi.

From a family bursting with top-notch talent, her dam, the Western Winter mare Valor Red, won the East Cape Oaks and is a daughter of blue hen mare Nacarat, whose liaisons with the former Lammerskraal champion resulted in no less than five stakes winners, headed by the Gr1 winners Red Ray and Nania.

The very next race saw another exciting filly in action.

Hollywoodbets-sponsored trainer Stuart Pettigrew’s unbeaten three-year-old Captain Peg lived up to her name when she claimed the scalps of some smart sorts over 1450m, notably that of last season’s Gr1 Thekwini Stakes runner-up Rock The Fox.

Captain Peg – bargain buy and exciting options (Pic – JC Photos)

The winner also ratcheted her perfect record to four from four with a cosy half-length victory over the returning Moraine, a winner of her only start back in June.

Pettigrew had snapped up the daughter of Jay Peg for a mere R70 000 at the Cape Ready To Run Sale and at the time of writing, she leads the log for next month’s lucrative Ready To Run Stakes. Will the R600 000 stake lure her to the Western Cape, considering there is valuable black type up for grabs in the Gr3 Starling Stakes on the same weekend?

Pettigrew answered that question: “It all depends on the draw. Don’t forget, it’s an expensive exercise to take just one horse to Cape Town. However, now that Cape Racing want out-of-province horses to come and are prepared to pay the expense, we may nominate her. Feather Boa, who recently won me the Bloodstock SA Sales Cup, will go for the Starling, but that too, is draw dependent.”

Bred at Hassen Adams’s Nadeson Park Stud, Captain Peg is a daughter of champion racehorse Jay Peg and is the first foal of the Captain Al mare Emblem Ahoy, a winning own sister to the stakes-placed duo of Ribbons For Thee and Captain’s Emblem, while grandam Main Emblem boasts a string of stakes places headed by a second in the Gr1 Allan Robertson Fillies Championship.

Pettigrew explained his purchase of Captain Peg: “I just liked the cross, Jay Peg on a speedy Captain Al mare. I paid R70 000 for her and to be honest, I couldn’t place her, people thought I was mad to buy a Jay Peg, so I ended up keeping her for myself. In fact, together with my son, we are the major shareholders. She’s a small filly, but she has done us proud.”

Corné Spies-trained Prophet proved another popular winner on the day.

The son of Querari repelled a strong challenge from favourite Quantum Theory to notch up his third win and first beyond 1100m.

Already a Gr3 winner of the Godolphin Barb Stakes, he is the pride and joy of owner/breeder Arné Botha and is out of stakes-placed Amber Bouquet, who like Jay Peg, is by the short-lived Camden Park.

At this stage, the young gelding has big shoes to fill, considering his own brother Monks Hood completed the Gr2 Dingaans/Gauteng Guineas double prior to his export to Hong Kong.

Prophet may have the makings of a Guineas prospect but as his Hollywoodbets-sponsored trainer pointed out, that’s still a long way off.

He elaborates: “Yes, a nice run with Prophet. His two immediate aims right now are the Graham Beck Stakes over 1450m at the end of the month and then the Dingaans. And let’s not forget the Tony Ruffel, the race William Robertson won back in January.

“One has the Cape sort of in your mind, but it’s a 5% sort of niggle, I’m not too sure whether I would want to travel him with all the races in Joburg coming up. It does take a lot out of them, that Cape trip, but you know, depending on how he goes I suppose you can’t totally disregard it. Let’s sort of stick with the Graham Beck and the Dingaans for now and then we’ll assess it as we go.”

It goes without saying that the connections of this talented trio have plenty to look forward to, so here’s hoping they will continue their upward trajectory as the season gathers momentum!

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