The new season has got off to a flying start and before we know it we’ll have brand new three-year-olds arriving from the woodwork, particularly the later-maturing types, those with classic aspirations.
Based on the juvenile form on display it’s always interesting to speculate as to who will make a name for himself in what is arguably the most important season in a racehorse’s career, so let’s dive right in.
As for the men, Glen Kotzen’s cousin Casey has to be at the top of the list. A hot favorite to win the Juvenile Championship, the son of Vercingetorix was second to none as a youngster, ending his two-year season with an impressive quartet of wins, including a dominant double in Gr1 Premiers Champion stakes. Bred to classic lines, his dam Bretton Woods is her own sister to Glen’s ill-fated Durban July winner Big City Life.
Pathfork’s son Royal Victory, coached by brother Natie, chased home cousin Casey in both the Premiers and Gr2 Golden Horseshoe and is looking like a good three-year-old in the making.
He won his maiden over a mile and is out of the Kahal mare Kailani, who is closely related to his magnificent son No Worries. He was successful to 2400m and finished third in the Premiers Champion Stakes, also separating Vercingetorix and Capetown Noir in a thrilling three-way finish at Gr1 Daily News 2000.
Former champion sire Gimmethegreenlight may have relinquished his title last season, but judging by his three-year-old crop, he could reclaim his place as the top sire in the country.
Justin Snaith is training two exciting sons in Light Speed, a flowing Gr3 Langerman winner, and the well related Prevalence, who stood out with a respectable debut third last weekend. That was over the minimum distance, and as a half-brother to the two-time Summer Cup winner Master Sabina and the Eastern Cape Derby winner American Landing, he will certainly shine over the classic distances.
Trainer Dean Kannemeyer is not one to push his youngsters and those who will make their mark at three include two highly regarded Gimmethegreenlight stallions.
Bright Green came in after an impressive debut win in the Gr2 Golden Horse and despite a wide draw still managed to finish fifth, beaten by just over two lengths. This half brother of Zimbabwe Oaks winner Raven Girl out of a half sister of Hoedspruit comes from a fine international family that is currently firing on all cylinders, French Oaks winner Bright Sky.
On Sunday, Kannemeyer finalized the R2.8million purchase of yearling Cheeky Laddie from Hollywoodbets Scottsville and while this colt was not particularly popular, he lived up to his good pedigree to score in the debut. Pending transition into the finished article, the colt out of champion junior All Is Secret returns to home base in Cape Town where he will no doubt be aiming for the rich Cape season.
Gimmethegreenlight is also the sire of Brett Crawford-trained Port Louis, who followed his second Langerman win with a first stakes success in Fairview’s Listed Champion Juvenile Stakes.
Crawford’s arsenal also includes two potentially smart fillies in Red Impact and Le Morne. The former, a Birch-bred son of Red Ray, outpaced his rivals to win last weekend’s Kenilworth opener in fine style, while Futura newcomer Le Morne flashed for a debut win in style in race three.
Interestingly, both descend from mares sired by former Summerhill stars. Le Morne descends from a Kahal full sister of the trio Kwinta, Eastern Greeting and Kalaam, while Red Impact’s dam is a Muhtafal half sister of Gr1-placed Strelitzia winner Inverroche.
Eric Sands may no longer have the services of his beloved Grand Champion, but there may be life after Rainbow Bridge.
Though it’s still early days, the veteran coach is hoping to have a classic perspective in Hithemhardsunshine. This son of What A Winter and two entry winner Agra chased home Charles Dickens in the Somerset 1200.
The latter, a home-bred Drakenstein living in the Bass stable, might also have classic aspirations considering he’s a trippi brother in his own right to Charles and Somerset Maugham, the third Gr1 Cape Derby to be staged in two stages finished third in the Winter Series.
The Bass stable could have another classic Drakenstein offspring in the blue-blooded stallion Narina Trogon. The colt, who won for the first time at the end of June, has a classic pedigree through and through, descending from Silvano out of champion race mare Beach Beauty.
On the other side of the country, the shoemaker trained by Mike de Kock is waiting in the starting blocks. Another good prospect in Gimmethegreenlight’s embarrassment of wealth, this half-brother of Gr2 World Sports Betting Guineas hero Zapatillas was put away after winning both starts by easy means. De Kock appreciates the stallion very much and we look forward to his return to action with great interest.
Newly crowned champion trainer Paul Peter landed the Gr2 Umkhomazi Stakes with Elusive Fort colt Swing Upon A Star, a close relative of the two aforementioned Prevalence- and Sean Tarry-trained fillies, Sweet Pepper.
Another Drakenstein-bred ace, Trippi’s daughter, won the Gr1 Allan Robertson Championship for trainer Sean Tarry, who clinched the youth doubles on the day Rafeef Colt Thunderstruck recorded a scintillating three-length victory in the Gr1 Gold Medallion.
Based on the pedigree, the Wilgerbosdrift colt looks like a good sprinter, which is not surprising considering his light-footed dam Varikate beat the boys in the Gr2 Post Merchants. Knowing Tarry, he could just do magic and get the filly to keep excelling!
The above are just a few of an exciting group of newly minted three year olds. No doubt there will be more good prospects as the season progresses. Who knows, a future Hollywoodbets Durban July winner could be lurking among them?
Next week we’ll take a look at the fairer sex.
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