MONKS HOOD trots in
There’s a new poster boy in South African racing. Monks Hood’s demolition job on a field of highly rated three-year-old colts in the R1-million Gauteng Guineas has pushed him to the top of the pops – with excited talk of a Triple Crown charge and overseas campaigns.
KwaZulu-Natal trainer Alastair Gordon has twice travelled the son of Querari up from Summerveld to the Highveld and won both times – first in the Grade 2 Dingaans over this course and distance in yielding going and a slow-run race, then this powerful Grade 2 performance that left many a pundit open-mouthed.
Owned by Mark Slack’s Wilgerbosdrift Stud, Monks Hood was surprisingly not bred at that august establishment. He was in fact bred by the Botha family at Benmarne stud at Blue Bay and bought by Slack for R375,000 at a yearling sale. The gelding has now won four from eight starts and more than R1-million in stakes.
Monks Hood started at 7-1, with the favourite, the unbeaten Majestic Mambo at 3-1.
Anthony Delpech, who has ridden a few useful horses in his time, described Monks Hood as “a top, top horse” after his 5.5-length victory.
The champion jockey said everything went perfectly for him in the first leg of the Triple Crown. From the 1600m start, Delpech was able to place his mount in midfield about five lengths off the pace. Alssakhra was making that pace – for the benefit of his stablemate Majestic Mambo.
With 400m to go, Delpech reckoned he was travelling at half-pace, but figured he’d better make his move as powerful challenges were likely to come.
Given his head, Monks Hood catapulted into a five-lengths lead and simply cantered home to a victory for the ages.