MARCO VAN RENSBURG
Ken Nicol: Last year’s winner Dodgy Itie stayed on resolutely under a strong Marco Van Rensburg ride to successfully defend his RA Flamingo Mile crown in the head liner of Kimberley’s biggest raceday.
Topweight and newly crowned Northern Cape Horse of the Year Red Special set the pace, followed by Just Ask Me and the eventual winner. Favourite Notacademicatall (10-3) sat within striking distance just off the leading line.
Red Special was still plugging away entering the straight, but Dodgy Itie soon had his measure and Notacademicatall was the only real threat over the last 200m.
Dodgy Itie – saddled by Kimberley stalwart Cliffie Miller – never looked in any serious danger though and crossed the line 2.5 lengths clear of a staying-on Ahead Of Traffic, who got the better of Notacademicatall late on.
Earlier, Tienie Prinsloo’s Sea Bean won the first of the day’s feature events, going clear late under Shadley Fortune to win the Racing Association Diamond Stayers over 2200m.
Rockefeller set a fair if unspectacular pace, followed by Sea Bean, Razzle My Tazzle and Netherby Hall. Sea Bean took over halfway up the straight and galloped on powerfully to claim the honours. Netherby Hall stayed on and Rockefeller plodded into third, six lengths off the winner.
Nothing from off the speed made any real impression in the finishing stretch.
The final feature was won by raiding KwaZulu-Natal trainer Kom Naidoo as Tweed Valley got the better of fellow bottom-weight Timkat down the inside to take the Betting World Sprint over 1000m.
The Durban-based conditioner has an affinity with this race, having also been successful last year with Roy’s Marciano – who trailed in last on this occasion.
The annual Northern Cape awards function was held on Friday evening, ahead of the region’s showcase meeting.
Muzi Yeni was crowned Northern Cape Champion Jockey for the eighth time.
The trainer for whom Yeni rode a large proportion of his winners, Corrie Lensley, collected the trophy for Champion Trainer.
The dynamic duo were not able to celebrate their triumph with any winners on Saturday – an unusual occurrence at Flamingo Park.
The closest they got to the winner’s circle was the second in the main race with Ahead Of Traffic and another second in Race 5 with 9-1 chance Sussex, who followed home 7-2 favourite Royal Kaitrina (trained by Naidoo and ridden by Serino Moodley).
Summerhill-bred Kahal gelding Red Special was named Horse Of The Year and Francois du Toit the Owner of the Year.