WEIHO Marwing has established a reputation as a phenomenal trainer of stayers and his charge Hermoso Mundo looked a potential winner when passing the stand for the first time in the Grade 3 SABC Gold Vase over 3 000m on Vodacom Durban July day at Greyville on Saturday.
However, in the end the connections had to go through the agony of an objection inquiry before landing the result they had dreamed about for weeks.
The most relieved man on course was part-owner Sean Singleton, who then entertained the crowd to his traditional victory war cry.
Over in Germany the race had also stopped an important match on the tournament tennis circuit in which another part-owner Neil Patrick Smith had been taking part.
Sean’s war cry is well known to all of his racing friends, but this was the first time it had been shouted outside the confines of his home or a racecourse suite.
He explained yesterday the Afrikaans sequence of words, which are shouted at full volume while imitating a jockey riding and whipping a horse, were invented by him chiefly as an adrenaline reliever and had no real meaning.
“Jou lekker ding, jou lollipop, jou opgeswelde hoender haan, jou woer woer masjien!”, echoed across the racecourse and it was clear afterwards Sean had finally recovered his composure and breath.
Earlier, while waiting for the objection verdict, his girlfriend Chantal as well as his good friend Darryl Maree had become concerned. The latter poured water down his throat and Chantal ordered him to breathe deeply. On this occasion he really did need to get rid of the adrenaline. He said, “I didn’t really have a big bet, but we just really care about this horse and it was all about the excitement of having a winner on July day.” Later, Sean was speaking to Neil Patrick Smith on the phone. “He was crying like a baby,” admitted Sean. “He then said, hang on, I have to get back to my tennis match!”
Neil is an outstanding tennis player and his important tournament match on Saturday was scheduled to clash with the time of the race.
However, it had been agree by all involved in the match, including the umpire, they would call a halt at race time and watch the live transmission from Greyville on a computer screen at the back of the court. The objection caused quite a long delay to the match as Neil could not leave the result hanging in the air.
Sean is a passionate fan of the sport of kings from many angles and the Pick 6 is one of his favourite bets. He did banker his horse in the Pick 6 and then landed a percentage of the healthy R253,143.70 dividend when his other banker Al Mariachi arrived in the last leg.
The connections of the Mauritzfontain Stud-bred Hermoso Mundo, who also include NC Smith, GD Cahn, G Morris and W Volschenk, are now dreaming of a Gold Cup win and the completion of a historic hat-trick.
Sean said, “He won the Gold Bowl at Turffontein, which used to be a Grade 1, and he won the Gold Vase, which used to be a Grade 2. The Gold Cup used to be a Grade 1 and I don’t think any horse has ever won all three of these races in the same season.”
On Saturday Karl Zechner had the long-striding four-year-old gelding by Ideal World relaxed in a perfect position on the rail by the time they had passed the winning post for the first time.
Hermoso Mundo had been shuffled back to about sixth from the back by the halfway mark. However, he had travelled beautifully throughout and crept closer when the field concertinaed coming up the hill towards the straight.
He was going so well in the straight Zechner was able to force his way through a virtually non-existent gap between Sun On Africa and Helderberg Blue at the 350m mark.
The rangy bay then got into full stride and began rapidly eating away the lead, which had been established by the Lonsdale Stirrup Cup winner Captain Splendid.
However, the latter then suddenly began hanging outward away from the whip and bumped him. Hermoso Mundo had to change legs and regather himself, yet he still failed by only a whisker to get up.
In the objection inquiry Zechner pointed out the leader had been “treading water”, while his mount had been finishing strongly and was clearly on his way to victory.
Piere Strydom is a master in all aspects of his profession and countered by pointing out Hermoso Mundo had also moved inward.
He added he had also been forced to stop riding in order to straighten his mount. But the stipendiary stewards were not buying it and quickly upheld the decision.
Weiho Marwing heaped praise on Zechner as well as the owners. He had a glint in his eye when saying it had been a “privilege to win a race … again … on July day.” Of course, he was on the wrong side of one of South African racing’s most infamous ever objections after Wylie Hall had crossed the line first in the July three years ago.
Ideal World’s progeny are stout and continually improve so there should be a few more “Woer woer” war cries before the end of the progressive Hermoso Mundo’s career.