Dewali comes early for Sage
THERE were a handful of horses who caught the eye as ones to follow for the season at Turffontein on Saturday. August is traditionally the quietest month of the racing season for top horses as they will usually be having a well deserved holiday after the SA Champions Season and it is also a good time to administer the compulsory African Horse Sickness vaccines.
However, the early signs are Sean Tarry has started this season the way he ended the last. He and Robbie Sage scored a double. Muzi Yeni rode a treble and his eight winners for the season by the end of the day's play were one behind early national log leader Richard Fourie.
Keagan de Melo and 2,5kg claimer Luke Ferraris both rode doubles to make it six and four for the season respectively.
Yeni's second winner was aboard the well-bred Sage-trained Querari three-yearold Dewali.
Festival Of Fire
This R325,000 colt is out of the Mike de Kock-trained Kahal mare Festival Of Fire, who won the Grade 2 KRA Fillies Guineas as well as two Grade 3s over 1 400m and 1 450m respectively.
In Saturday’s maiden for three-year-olds over 1 160m Dewali's odds of 11-10 were generous in retrospect as his three runs to date had all been in features and he had twice finished quite close to the classy Bold Eagle.
He duly obliterated the field and won effortlessly by four lengths.
He looks set to provide a lot of fun for deserving owner Colin Bird, who will be on a high as the Sage-trained Coral Fever gave him his first Grade 1 winner in 41 years of racing in last season's lucrative Premier’s Champions Challenge.
In the next race over 1160m the well-bred Sean Tarry-trained In The Dance was easy to back at 10-3.
This Gimmethegreenlight filly is a halfsister to the like of three-time Grade 1 winner Capetown Noir, Grade 3 winner Across The Ice and Graded performer Premier Dance.
Cape Town Noir was known for his exceptional turn of foot and In The Dance showed she possessed this asset too.
She was hampered at the start causing her to lose a couple of lengths.
However she was soon travelling well on the outside.
She was green when asked for her initial effort but quickened effortlessly when it counted and won easing up by 3,5 lengths under S’Manga Khumalo.
The runner up Rock A Roll Dancer is no slouch as she finished just 1,75 lengths behind Nafaayes over 1 000m on debut and the latter followed up with another win over 1 400m to remain unbeaten.
In The Dance is owned and bred by Lammerskraal Stud.
Her dam Akinfeet was named Broodmare Of The Year at the 2013 Equus Awards due to Cape Town Noir’s feat of doing the Cape Guineas and Cape Derby double.
Akinfeet is bred in the purple herself, being by SA Champion stallion Fort Wood out of the top class racehorse Dance Every Dance.
The latter was by champion broodmare sire Northern Guest and she won the Grade 2 Golden Slipper and Grade 2 Cape Fillies Guineas.
It is not surprising Lammerskraal Stud manager Sally Jourdan chose In The Dance as one of the fillies to keep for racing and breeding.
Tarry then teamed up with the 2,5kg claimer Luke Ferraris to win a Pinnacle event over 1 160m with the five-year-old Visionaire gelding Africa Rising, although another one to definitely take out of the race is the runner up Mardi Gras.
Africa Rising, who won the Byerley Turk over 1 400m at Greyville last year, has always been well regarded by Tarry but has been a touch disappointing.
However, he has now won his last two sprint starts and could be interesting if kept to the shorter distances considering the current relative weakness of the sprinting division around the country.
In his previous sprint win over 1 200m Africa Rising came from well off the pace and mowed them down so it was encouraging that he won on Saturday after showing good gatespeed and initially being in the lead as this did not blunt his good turn of foot at the end.
On the downside he is merit rated 103 and was well in at the weights, especially when taking Farraris's 2,5kg claim into account.
He only just held off the Johan Janse van Vuuren-trained four-year-old Oratorio grey Mardi Gras.
The latter, who would have been receiving 2kg more weight in a handicap, was having his first run after gelding and will come on considerably for the run as it was also his first appearance for more than three months.
This Avontuur Stud-bred horse, formerly owned by Mayfair Speculators, is out of the Grade 1 Majorca Stakes winner Sarabande and is a half-brother to the like of stakes winners Chesalon and La Volta and also to the dam of his Graded-winning stablemate She’s A Giver.
It is not surprising he fetched R3,2 million at the sales.
Make Your Move
Ferraris’s other winner on the Var gelding Make Your Move was for his grandfather Ormond.
Luke had a good chance of scoring a double for Tarry as he was aboard the fancied Satin Slipper in the eighth.
However, ultimately this horse was declared a non-runner after the handler impeded her start causing her to lose a couple of lengths. She ran on from last but faded late to finish sixth.
Luckily for PA punters the favourite Abelie finished third and they can also thank their lucky stars Satin Slipper did not run on in to the fourth position as she would then not have been able to be declared a non-runner due to the laws of racing.