The day Cape Town made history

All smiles for winning jockey Heavelon van der Hoven (Gallo Images)
All smiles for winning jockey Heavelon van der Hoven (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Glamour, international flare in the theme of black and white set the tone at Kenilworth Racecourse where Investec and Cape Thoroughbred Sales hosted their guests at the inaugural Investec Day of Dreams.

Janet Larsen, Head of Marketing for Investec in South Africa, said: “a spectacular day that saw our partnership with CTS come to life, a proud moment for Investec to host Africa’s richest horse race and make history”

It was a truly exciting day at the track, with surprise winners stealing the show. 

Illuminator, from the Glen Puller stable, is the winner of the inaugural running of the CTS Million Dollar over 1 400m on the turf, Africa’s richest thoroughbred race. The bay son of Trippi was ridden by Heavelon van der Hoven, a low percentage apprentice who seized a dream opportunity when replacing indisposed senior jockey, Weichong Marwing.

Puller is a reticent character, but a highly skilled horseman possessing a special touch with thoroughbreds. He accurately rated Illuminator as one of the best he has been associated with soon after the athletic colt won his first two career starts under apprentice van der Hoven in spring 2015. That judgment was vindicated with big money at stake as Illuminator fluently glided down the outside to overhaul favourite Silver Mountain, who was engaged in a robust duel with Victorious Jay in the centre of the course. Seventh Plain ran gamely from a wide draw to get fourth place.

Illuminator was purchased at the CTS March Yearling Sale for R180 000 and is a product of champion breeders, Klawervlei Stud. This was his third win from six starts. The winner’s stake was 50% of the $1 million, for owners Francis Carruthers and Ian Robinson.

Raymond van Niekerk, Investec’s Global Head of Marketing said: “following our success over the past seven years at the Investec Derby Festival in England, it was wonderful to establish new traditions in South Africa today”.

In the Investec Cape Derby (Grade 1) over 2 000m held on the same afternoon, It’s My Turn sprung another upset when making a solo run up the outside of the long Kenilworth stretch. He had produced a terrific performance quickening smartly when winning his Maiden on debut at Durbanville, yet three subsequent fails in modest handicap company dampened enthusiasm and Justin Snaith’s entry was priced up a 25/1 long-shot.

Skilfully handled by Piere Strydom, he moved smoothly from well off the early pace set by Kemal Kavur to seize control inside the final 200m. Brazuca, who came under forceful urgings a long way out stayed on belatedly to sneak second. He finished just ahead of Marinaresco who also arrived late on the scene, together with Black Arthur. The latter, favoured at 12/10 to repeat his score in the recent Politician Stakes, was never travelling comfortably and ended up stuttering into fourth 2.6 lengths behind his less fancied stable-mate.

Inara won the other Grade 1 race on the card, when scoring a follow up win from 2015 in the prestigious Klawervlei Majorca Stakes over 1 600m. She beat off Same Jurisdiction and Lanner Falcon, in a notable triumph for Drakenstein Stud, who own all three fillies. Winning jockey Grant van Niekerk recorded two Grade 1 victories on this talented daughter of Trippi last season, and the duo with a special affinity repeated their 2015 triumph.

Describing those back to back Majorca victories, albeit after an unsuccessful mid-2015 foray up to Durban, Van Niekerk extolled Inara’s virtues.

“She never lets me down. She just never felt the same in KZN, but when back in Cape Town it’s like she grows another leg, and I knew the others would battle to beat her.”

Adrian Todd, Managing Director CTS, said: “it has been an exhilarating week with the Cape Premier Yearling Sale and what a way to finish it off with the CTS Million Dollar race. Today’s event has clearly put South Africa on the global racing stage; this is the stuff of which dreams are made.”

Winning CTS Million Dollar horse, Illuminator (Gallo Images)

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