Have you ever sat back and wondered just how many times coincidences and fairytale endings have popped up in racing. Remember Bob Champion and Aldaniti? They teamed up to win one of the world’s greatest races, the Grand National. And yet, there was a time prior to that event, when neither looked likely to ever race again. Almost as incredible, are the chances of owners by the name of Livanos, purchasing a horse (Flirtation) whose sire would be an anagram of their name (Livanos/Silvano), going on to win a prestigious Gr3 event en route to who knows what, writes Steve Furnish.
Flirtation has always been highly regarded by her stable, but with the booking of jockey’s suggesting that she wasn’t the stable elect, Mike De Kock’s charge was allowed to drift right out to double the odds at which she was first priced up (8/1 out to 16/1). Clearly more preferred in the betting ring were the likes of Lady Magpie (20/1 into 8/1), Xilomante (25/1 into 14/1) and the favourite Quick Single (22/10 into 18/10) who all found good support.
On leaving the stalls it was Bandera Nativa who elected to set the pace whilst the market leader raced close up in second. Flirtation’s more fancied stable companion Alderry sat third whilst also handy were both Xilomante and Kiribati. Flirtation had been drawn very wide and in her bid to gain position, she shifted inwards passing the 1600m marker and caused both Lady Magpie and Filly Bushwacker to be cramped and ease. Despite this though, Flirtation was soon very nicely positioned in sixth. Once the runners had settled the order changed little during the early part of the race and it was only early in the long home straight that we saw real movement. The leader Bandera Nativa was the first to come under pressure and as she began to exit the back door 600m out, it was the strongly fancied Quick Single who took up the running. Alderry was looking very dangerous at this stage and with Flirtation now taking closer order the race looked open. As they approached the 300m marker the Charity Mile entry Alderry was staying on strongly, but it was now evident that she wouldn’t be getting the better of Quick Single. Geoff Woodruff’s charge was running on strongly under a typically determined ride from Anton Marcus and when Flirtation loomed alongside 200m out battle quickly commenced. Quick Single gave her all on the run to the line, but try as she might she couldn’t hold on to Mike De Kock’s charge who asserted her authority late to score by a length. Despite being hampered early, Filly Bushwacker ran on well to take third and did very well indeed under the circumstances to finish within a length and a quarter of the winner. Alderry stayed on for fourth whilst catching the eye running on down field were both Clematis and Tree Of Perfection.
A R350k purchase at the National Sale, the lightly raced Flirtation is a daughter of Silvano out of the Mullineaux mare French Treasure. As well as being placed in both the Gr1 Woolavington and the Gr2 Gold Circle Oaks during the recent Natal season, Flirtation has now won three of her seven career starts to date and has already amassed stake earnings of 0ver R243k. All of this has been achieved by Flirtation despite having been drawn wide in six of her seven starts. She won well here and can still improve.
Yellowwood Hcp (SAf-G3) (10/30)
Turffontein, South Africa, October 30, R165.000, 1800m, turf, good, 1.50.75 (CR 1.48.92).
FLIRTATION (SAF), 59.0, ch f 4, Silvano (GER) – French Treasure (SAF) by Mullineaux. Owner Mr C & Mrs B A Livanos; breeder Adv A P Joubert; trainer M F de Kock; jockey G Lerena (R103.125)
Quick Single (SAF), 58.5, b f 4, Jallad – Caughtintheslips (SAF) by Caesour
Filly Bushwacker (SAF), 55.0, b f 4, Bezrin – Little Looker (SAF) by Secret Prospector
Margins: 1, nk, 1½
Also ran: Alderry (SAF) 60.0, Stella Mia (SAF) 57.5, Clematis (SAF) 55.5, Tree Of Perfection (SAF) 59.0, Elusive Model (SAF) 56.0, Lady Magpie (SAF) 52.0, Field Gate (SAF) 53.5, Jet Flyer (SAF) 52.5, Xilomante (BRZ) 52.0, Tigress (SAF) 52.0, Africa’s Touch (SAF) 52.0, Kiribati (SAF) 60.0, Bandera Nativa (ARG) 56.0