Winning Ways

Contador had bolted home by 9,25 lengths on the sand to win the Sophomore 1000

Var is at it again this season. His winners include boys and girls who come in all shapes and sizes and they have done the job from 1000m to 1600m. The handsome son of Forest Wildcat registered his 21st winner of the new season when the impressive 3yo filly Via Africa won for Duncan Howells at Scottsville on Sunday.

Two winners with a combined winning distance of 19 lengths and seven place-getters, meant that super-stallion Var again grabbed the limelight in South African horseracing over the Heritage Day long weekend. And what a start to a season that is not yet two months old!

After the sensational 3yo colt Contador had bolted home by 9,25 lengths on the sand to win the Sophomore 1000 at the weather disrupted Emerald Cup raceday just 24 hours earlier, 3yo filly Via Africa’s emphatic 9,75 length win at Scottsville on Sunday underlined the sensational influence of a stallion called Var.

Trained by Charles Laird and bred by Avontuur General Manager Pippa Mickleburgh, Contador was having his sixth run and first try on the sand when he stepped out at the Vaal’s big day on Saturday. His natural speed took him lengths clear after 400m and he won the 1000m feature unextended in a  time of 58,38 secs.

Contador is out of the Fort Wood mare, Fine Wood. He has now won twice with 3 places from his six starts and is stakes placed. He is a colt with a very bright future.

Via Africa also won unextended by a margin of in excess of nine lengths, when registering her second win from 3 starts. Her victory in the fillies and mares MR 77 Handicap over the Scottsville 1000m had racegoers talking and speculating. She had won her maiden by 8,50 lengths.

Via Africa won in 57,37 secs easing up. To put her effort into perspective, in the very next race, a year older colt scoring his fourth victory on the trot, and beating a former KZN Merchants winner, amongst others, carrying 6,5kgs less than her, won extended and ridden out in 58,38secs!

Jockey Alec Forbes, who was the original pilot of Var’s retired speed sensation and champion Val De Ra, who recently arrived in England, was breathless and termed the winner ‘something special’. Forbes said that Via Africa was just so laid-back and relaxed and this, coupled with her cruising speed, meant that she would go on to win plenty.

Via Africa is out of the Qui Danzig mare Bump ‘N Grind and was bred by the late Gren Hauptfleisch. She races for her breeder’s son Andre and Albert Boshoff.

Var’s winners this season include a balanced mix of both sexes and have won on both surfaces, over distances ranging from 1000m to 1600m. They include the Varsfontein-bred Valberg(twice), Varoma, La Volta, Cherry Tripper(twice), Gooi Mielies, Varsity Star, Peanuts, Lydia Lopokovo(twice),Knock ‘em Out, Caviar, Vantage, Sabadell and Casual Var.

Var, who produced the Beaumont Stud-bred 2011/12 Horse Of The Year Variety Club, stands at Avontuur

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