Oratorio Son Rocks Them!

Avontuur Sire's Glorious Gr1 double take

A terrific Gr1 win apiece at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday for the Avontuur super sires Var and Oratorio initiated a delighted smile on the face of the top farm’s General Manager Pippa Mickleburgh, also placing the cherry on top of a an unprecedented tough season for all, but launching a new term of hope in dazzling style.

Avontuur’s evergreen champion Var produced his 12th individual Gr1 winner when unbeaten daughter Anything Goes won the Gr1 Thekwini Stakes and joined the almost century of black type horses for the son of Forest Wildcat, who has made an enormous impact on SA racing in his 15 years in the stallion barn at the magnificent ranch on the R44.

Just hours later, Var’s barn partner, the triple G1 winning stallion Oratorio, celebrated his 58th stakes winner – already a Gr1 title holder – as Van Halen stormed to victory in the R425 000 World Sports Betting Gr1 Mercury Sprint.

In a really decent line-up, the red hot Craig Zackey steered the Corne Spies trained 5yo down the inside rail to dispose of the recent Gr1 Golden Horse Sprint winner Warrior’s Rest by 1.6 lengths, with a quartet of Gr1 winners in their wake.

A sensational winner of the 2018 Gr1 Tsogo Sun Gold Medallion, where he beat fellow (since exported) Oratorio Cue The Music, the Limpo Retail bred gelding has now won or finished second or third, in five graded races.

Van Halen’s proud part-owner Xander Spies was on track to lead in his first Gr1 winner alongside his Dad, Corne.

Van Halen’s dam Rock Concert (Lecture), is a full-sister to the high-quality Rock Opera, who was Champion Two-Year-Old in South Africa in 2005 when trained by Spies. Rock Opera also produced the 15-time winner Heavy Metal (Exceed and Excel), the winner of the Gr2 Godolphin Mile and several other stakes races in recent years.

While without a victory in over a year and unlucky not to win the Mercury Sprint last term, a thrilled Corne Spies proved again that he can hold his own in the Gr1 arena with any trainer in the country.

The victory crowned a remarkable fourth Gr1 in under nine months for Craig Zackey, whose elation was clear as he saluted at the post.

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