Jack Milner: The Tobie Spies yard had a delightful day at Greyville on Saturday when they came away with three winners at the Durban July racemeeting.
Their run began in Race 2 when Muzi Yeni, who was very positive about the chances of his mount, won this Pinnacle Stakes on Basilius.
Their final winner was ridden by Corne Orffer, who brought home Van Halen to win the Non-Black Type eThekwini Sprint over 1200m.
But the cherry on the top came in the Grade 2 Zulu Kingdom Explorer Golden Slipper over 1400m. The Spies yard are known for their precocious two-year-olds and once again that proved to be the case as two runners from their yard – Cockney Pride and What You Are – fought out the finish.
Cockney Pride, who went off at 17-1, showed a touch of greenness as she came under pressure but in the end, she proved too good for her stablemate by 0.75 lengths. Craig Zackey brought home this filly and he could not stop heaping praise on her ability.
“I told them all when I won on her last time – I made it very clear,” he said.
“There is just something you can feel about good horses. When she won last time I knew there was something there. I chose her over Singforafa, and I’ve won a Grade 3 on Singforafa, but this filly (Cockney Pride) is just something special.”
When this daughter of Querari ran first time the yard thought she could not lose but she ran a shocker, trailing in at the back of the field. That left them totally mystified but she showed her class when she won at Scottsville, and based on this performance, there is a lot more to come.
The Durban Golden Horseshoe went to favourite Eden Roc who was regarded as one of the best bets on the card. He went off at 17-20 and had the race in the bag some way from home and like the Spies yard did a race earlier, Sean Tarry copied in this race by training both the first and second-placed runners. Make a note of runner-up Putontheredlight – he will be back in the winner’s box before long.
Speaking about the winner, Lyle Hewitson, who rode three winners on the card, said: “He’s got all the ability and has brought it to the course. I’m blessed to ride horses like this.”
Earlier with the Pick 6 pool closing at a record R22,316,079, Walter Smoothie proved himself to be a genuine stayer as he claimed the Grade 3 DStv Gold vase over 3000m.
Going off at 9-1, this Stuart Pettigrew-trained runner was up with the pace for the whole journey, hit the front 200m from home and then held off Dynasty’s Blossom by a neck. Third place went to Strathdon, who was only 0.40 lengths back.
Diego de Gouveia had Walter Smoothie out quickly and led early on from Ballad Of The Sea, with Strathdon third, followed by Major Return and Mangrove. Flichity By Farr and the well-backed Sunshine Silk gave the leaders a lot of start from their wide draws.
Richard Fourie decided the pace was too slow and took Strathdon to the lead and was still in front when the field came for home.
Pacific Chestnut moved in to challenge at the 400m but Strathdon kept him at bay. But then De Gouveia set his mount alight and Walter Smoothie grabbed the lead. Just when he looked to have it sewn up S’manga Khumalo on Dynasty’s Blossom ranged up on his inside but Walter Smoothie had more to come.
“He’s an out-and-out stayer,” said De Gouveia. “I told Mr Pettigrew after the final workout on Wednesday that I had never felt him better.”
Pettigrew added: “I knew he would love this track and the pace was just right for him.”
The money came for Sunshine Silk, who went off a weak 4-1 favourite but from a wide draw, she was always too far back and although she ran on late, Geoff Woodruff’s charge could only finish fifth.
In a race which changed dramatically in the latter stages, Shenanigans (10-1) won the first Graded event of July day with a narrow victory in the Betting World 2200.