MARDI GRAS wins Senor Santa
Mike Moon: Randall Simons crowned a brilliant day as he steered Johan Janse van Vuuren-trained Mardi Gras to victory in the Grade 2 Senor Santa Stakes at Turffontein on Saturday.
It was the jockey’s fourth win from his first five rides at the meeting.
In second place in the R400,000 1160m was Prince Of Kahal, trained by the day’s other unlikely hero, veteran Roy Magner. It was Magner’s third second place – to go with his three winners!
Mardi Gras has been in top form recently and was well supported by punters in what looked a fiercely competitive event.
In the end, the flying grey won comfortably by more than two lengths, with Prince Of Kahal also finishing clear of the pursuing pack.
Simons said his mount “jumped very well” and pulled him through into a lead that he never looked like relinquishing. Going past the 500m mark, the challengers were coming off the bridle, but Simons still had a handful. When given rein, Mardi Gras sailed away.
“He won an amazing race today,” beamed the jockey.
Mardi Gras will be travelling to Maritzburg for Scottsville’s big Grade 1 sprint, said Van Vuuren in his post-race interview.
“He’s a great horse. He never shows this at home – like many great horses who save their best for the races,” said the trainer.
He revealed that Mardi Gras had nearly been sold to buyers in Mauritius but had failed a scope examination ahead of export. A scramble to put together an ownership syndicate resulted a gaggle of new owners from all over the country. Some of those owners made the Turffontein winner’s circle a crowded, festive place.
Van Vuuren landed the meeting’s feature race double, saddling outsider Divine Odyssey to win the Listed Drum Star Handicap over 1800m. Calvin Habib was in the irons and the Win payout was R19.30.
Earlier, Magner could not miss as he led in Excellent Al after Race 3, Valbonne after Race 5 and Pool Party after the sixth.