South African owners and trainers are already in Sydney, en masse, for this week’s Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale and it’s not hard to guess why.
In a star studded program at Turffontein on Saturday, Australian-bred gallopers really made their presence felt with Mike de Kock’s Heavenly Blue capturing the R2 million Group One South African Classic (1800m), while Fastnet Rock 6YO, Ilitshe, proved too strong in the Group Three Caradoc Gold Cup (2850m).
A flashy bay colt by Snitzel (who earlier that day had notched up a Group One trifecta in the Inglis Sires’ Produce), Heavenly Blue was sold to Jehan Malherbe’s Form Bloodstock for $200,000 at Easter two years ago and has now won three from seven, along with three placings.
Winning his first two starts, Heavenly Blue was subsequently placed in three Group races before stepping up big time on Saturday where he raced away to score with nearly three lengths to spare.
Meanwhile, the Jurgan van Heerden owned and trained, Ilitshe, ranks as one of the great bargain buys after being knocked down to Colm Santry Bloodstock for just $15,000 at the 2012 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.
“I couldn’t believe what he was making in the ring,” Santry recalls. “There was nothing really wrong with him and I thought buyers must have really missed something.
“It’s a terrific family … the second dam is Habibti and his relations include Octagonal and the Australian Cup winner, Humidor.
“He got sold on to South African interests and they pin hooked him over there.
“All the horse needed was a little time and a patient owner which has now paid off and good luck to them … that was his second black type win on Saturday and he’s won six overall.
“A very good buy for just $15,000 and shows, yet again, why they like the Aussie horses so much.”
Australia’s successful run in New Zealand continued on Saturday as well with promising 3YO, Charles Road, notching up his first black type success in the Group Three Higgins Concrete Manawatu Classic (2000m) at Awapuni.
Group One winning owner, David Archer pays the feed bills for the up and comer and was very happy with Charles Road’s performance: “He’s a really nice horse and I’m quite relieved to see him do that … he has been up since July and is only a 3YO … he’s going to come to the end of it at some stage, so it was a very gutsy win.”
Trained by Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott (who also direct the show for Group One winner, Summer Passage, who finished second in Saturday’s Inglis Sires’ Produce), Charles Road is a son of Vinery Stud-based stallion, Myboycharlie, who has grabbed the limelight in successive weeks after Jameka won the Group One BMW.
Bred in Victoria, Charles Road is out of the Giant’s Causeway mare, Giant Mystique who is a half sister to Singapore Horse of the Year, War Affair.