Underdogs Bite Back

A few Group Race shocks at Turffontein on 25 February

Grey Flyer! Go Indigo proved her detractors wrong with a Gr2 win.

A poke in the eye for the on-course expert tipping panel. They never mentioned the largely unglamorous combination of the Go Indigo connections in the Gauteng Fillies Guineas preview, but had the temerity to suggest afterwards that ‘things will be different in four weeks.’

The irony and bottom line is that racing can only benefit with a Group victory now and again for the underdog and it is wonderful to have people like Leon Erasmus and starstruck owner Johan Botha tasting that exclusive winner’s bubbly,  mostly  reserved by life’s realities for the powerful few at the top of the tree. On the other end of the spectrum, it was an equally wonderful day for Wilgerbosdrift Stud, who enjoyed a Group winning double.

The R500 000 Gr2 Gauteng Fillies Guineas run at Turffontein over 1600m on Saturday 25 February,  and which was also the first leg of the SASCOC Triple Tiara,  left punters stunned. The grey fighter Go Indigo had recently won the Gr3 Three Troikas and gave her stallion Indigo Magic  his second Graded Stakes winner in the space of three weeks. The comical silence on course that greeted the Gone West  granddaughter’s narrow win over a flying Anton Marcus and Ilha Bela, was deafening.

Top Ride. Sherman Brown rode a powerful finish to win the Gr2 Fillies Guineas.

Afterwards a subdued jockey Sherman Brown, who had ridden a cracker, said ‘she’s very good’.  Trainer Leon Erasmus thanked ‘God for the opportunity’. Owner Botha couldn’t stop thanking the world in general. Even her breeder Ian Sanne of Oldlands Stud had travelled the 2000km odd from beautiful Hermanus to join in the festivities. All surreally as if her betting odds, uncertainty about her ability to stay a mile and her draw in the public parking area, were not real. But racing dishes up dreams ever so often. And this one failed to reach her reserve of R40 000 at the 2010 KZN Yearling Sale.

Even though the ‘experts’ appeared reluctant to believe it, the grey from nowhere had beaten them all fairly and squarely. This included the undefeated  Zimbabwe-based Control Freak, who is sadly no longer Africa’s answer to Black Caviar, after running out of steam late to plod into fourth. She was not given an exactly vintage ride by Gavin Lerena, but if she was good enough, she really had every chance and would have won it.

In what must surely be a world record for the De Kock yard in a Group race, punter’s woes continued when the champion trainer produced a 100-1 shot to win the R1 million Gr2 Betting World Gauteng Guineas run over 1600m. Golden Chateau  was perfectly ridden by an elated Derreck David to register De Kock’s third Group winner of the electrical storm interrupted afternoon.The unbeaten Slumdogmillionaire ran his heart out but could only finish third behind his stablemate Brooks Club.

De Kock won the preceeding two features for Wilgerbosdrift Stud. The R300 000 Gr2 Hawaii Stakes run over 1400m saw an out of sorts  Muzi Yeni taking the  Mike Azzie trained Two Tone up to lead the way with Anton Marcus dropping the usually pacy Gibraltar Blue into midfield. But it was the magic of Depech and De Kock that produced the revitalised Kavanagh to streak away down the rail and win easily from Snowdon and Rebel Knight, who ran a cracker to beat his disappointing stablemate Pierre Jourdan.

Group Double. Wilgerbosdrift Stud's Mary Slack was on course to enjoy her two winners.

The R165 000 Gr3 Acacia Handicap run over 1600m had the Mike De Kock-trained mare Europa Point start a hot order 8-10 favourite and carrying on her shoulders  the hopes of most exotic bet punters. And the Irish –bred daughter of Rock Of Gibraltar did not disappoint her supporters.

Louvre dashed off into the lead under the hot in form Weichong Marwing,  who had won two of the first four races on the card. With 300m to run, Louvre led from Dream Street and Checcetti with Europa Point in fifth spot with fully five  lengths to make up. But it was all over in a matter of strides as Louvre was rather flattered by the Wilgerbosdrift mare’s casual final effort.

Europa Point’s owner Mary Slack of Wilgerbosdrift Stud was on hand to lead the gallant daughter of Rock Of Gibraltar into the winner’s box and expressed her elation that she had registered her first black type.

All said and done, a great day and a flicker of hope that this game deals everybody a good hand, now and again.


Betting World Gauteng Guineas (SAf-G2) (2/25)
Turffontein, South Africa, February 25, R1 million, 1600m, turf, good, 1.38.59 (CR 1.35.44).
GOLDEN CHATEAU (AUS), 58.0, br c 3, Chateau Istana (GB) – Accent On Gold  by Deputy Minister (CAN). Owner I F M van Schalkwyk, G L Blank & I V Shore; breeder P Thomson (AUS); trainer M F de Kock; jockey D David (R625.000)
Brooks-Club (SAF), 58.0, b g 3, Strike Smartly (CAN) – Lady Brooke (SAF) by Fort Wood
Slumdogmillionaire (SAF), 58.0, b c 3, Strike Smartly (CAN) – Make A Million (AUS) by Last Tycoon (IRE)
Margins: ½, ½, nose
Also ran: Heavy Metal (SAF) 58.0, Potala Palace (SAF) 58.0, Baracah (SAF) 58.0, Pomodoro (SAF) 58.0, Whiteline Fever (SAF) 58.0, Zambucca (SAF) 58.0, E-Jet (SAF) 58.0, Silver Flyer (SAF) 58.0, Beacon Flare (SAF) 58.0, Straw Market (SAF) 58.0, Governor General (SAF) 58.0, Wagner (SAF) 58.0, Red Barrel (SAF) 58.0
Betting World Gauteng Fillies Guineas (SAf-G2) (2/25)
Turffontein, South Africa, February 25, R500.000, 1600m, turf, good, 1.38.64 (CR 1.35.44).
GO INDIGO (SAF), 58.0, gr f 3, Indigo Magic (GB) – Egyptian Reign (SAF) by Kabool (GB). Owner J D Botha; breeder Oldlands Stud (SAF); trainer L J Erasmus; jockey S Brown (R312.500)
Ilha Bela (SAF), 58.0, gr f 3, Fort Wood – Ilha Da Vitoria (BRZ) by Candy Stripes
Hidden Beauty (SAF), 58.0, ch f 3, Victory Moon (SAF) – Hidcote Blue (SAF) by National Assembly (CAN)
Margins: nose, nk, 1
Also ran: Control Freak (SAF) 58.0, Bluroute (AUS) 58.0, Kalami (SAF) 58.0, Shadows In The Sun (SAF) 58.0, Katy’s Lane (SAF) 58.0, Extra Zero (SAF) 58.0, Awesome Beauty (SAF) 58.0, Mount Carmel (SAF) 58.0, Mary’s Pride (SAF) 58.0, Uptothemoon (SAF) 58.0, Salsabeel (AUS) 58.0, Rose Garden (SAF) 58.0, Solarium (SAF) 58.0
Hawaii S. (SAf-G2) (2/25)
Turffontein, South Africa, February 25, R300.000, 1400m, turf, good, 1.24.52 (CR 1.21.41).
KAVANAGH (SAF), 56.0, b g 4, Tiger Ridge – Quaestio by Seeking The Gold. Owner & breeder Wilgerbosdrift (SAF); trainer M F de Kock; jockey A Delpech (R187.500)
Snowdon (SAF), 55.0, b g 4, Western Winter – Antonia’s Law (SAF) by National Assembly (CAN)
Rebel Knight (SAF), 55.0, b g 5, Jet Master (SAF) – Darby Game (SAF) by Elliodor (FR)
Margins: 1¼, ½, ½
Also ran: Pierre Jourdan (SAF) 57.5, Galileo’s Destiny (NZ) 55.0, Dancewiththedevil (SAF) 57.5, Solo Traveller (SAF) 60.0, Gibraltar Blue (IRE) 55.5, Moroccan (ZIM) 55.0, Buy And Sell (SAF) 55.0, Two Tone (SAF) 55.0, Arabian Mist (saf) 56.5, Lochlorien (SAF) 55.0
Acacia Hcp (SAf-G3) (2/25)
Turffontein, South Africa, February 25, R165.000, 1600m, turf, good, 1.37.03 (CR 1.35.44).
EUROPA POINT (IRE), 54.5, ch m 5, Rock Of Gibraltar (IRE) – Gorband by Woodman. Owner Wilgerbosdrift; breeder T Molan & Westbury B’stock; trainer M F de Kock; jockey A Delpech (R103.125)
Louvre (SAF), 56.0, b f 4, Doowaley (IRE) – Prive (SAF) by Saumarez (GB)
Hawker Hunter (SAF), 55.5, ch f 4, Jet Master (SAF) – Wisp Of Light (SAF) by Into The Sun
Margins: 1¼, 1¼, nk
Also ran: Lizzie Arden (SAF) 52.5, Checcetti (SAF) 57.0, African Icon (SAF) 52.0, Without Malice (SAF) 61.5, Cyclone Barbara (SAF) 52.0, Mina Salaam (USA) 56.5, Dream Street (AUS) 52.0

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