Picture: 123RF/ MELORY S
Picture: 123RF/ MELORY S

If Bloodstock SA are looking to attract new buyers to the National Yearling Sales (April 24-26), they should consider an advert showing the post-race celebrations of three young men after last season’s Gauteng Fillies Guineas and Fillies Classic.

The wins by Mike de Kock’s filly, Takingthepeace, prompted joyous scenes from Mathew de Kock, Murray Makepeace and Michael Shea that put Premier League goal celebrations in the shade.

There is a Tellytrack ad showing at present in which well-known owner Greg Blank says “there’s no bigger thrill than owning a big race winner” — and here was the proof.

Purchased from Summerhill Stud for R280,000, Takingthepeace gave young De Kock, Makepeace and Shea memories they will cherish for life, but now they have to endure the downside of the racing game.

Mike de Kock reports on his website that Takingthepeace has suffered a knee injury and “we have chosen to retire her over knee surgery”.

It seems a wise decision as an operation always carries risk.

“She was a filly who gave us and her owners an incredible amount of joy. Their on-course antics at the races went viral a few times,” commented Mike de Kock.

Ridgemont Highlands bought into the filly in 2018 and the daughter of Visionaire will be a welcome addition to their band of broodmares. With their star stallion, Dynasty, deceased, it will be interesting to see which stallion is chosen.

Takingthepeace retires with a career record of six wins and five placings from 13 starts and stake earnings of over R1.7m.

Another talented De Kock female, Silver Thursday, will be one of the fancied runners in Thursday’s Spook Express Handicap at the Vaal, but the four-year-old faces a tough rival in Forest Express.

A member of the powerful Sean Tarry team, Forest Express returned from a break at Thursday’s course in March and easily justified favouritism, beating Woodland’s Forest by two lengths.

As that race was an Assessment Plate, Forest Express’s merit rating remained the same, which means Silver Thursday has to give her 5.5kg in Thursday’s 2,400m contest.

St John Gray’s mare Parisienne Chic has been a good servant to her trainer and the six-year-old should pick up a place cheque in this small seven-horse field.

Gavin Lerena remains in hot form in his quest for another jockeys’ title and he has five booked rides on Thursday’s eight-race programme. The pick of the quintet may be Maroon Bells, who will jump from pole position in the fifth race.

Trained by Joe Soma, Maroon Bells ran a creditable second to Palace Green last time out and can leave the maiden ranks provided she can beat Mike de Kock’s Var gelding, Lasair.

Toronto, a son of Toreador and trained by Dorrie Sham, also goes on the short-list of possible winners as the gelding has been placed in four of his last five outings.

Though Dynasty’s son Knight Owl has a long way to go to recoup his R1.1m purchase price, Geoff Woodruff’s three-year-old looks on a handy mark for his handicap debut in the final leg of the Pick 6.

Ashley Fortune’s five-year-old Verdier has been running in stronger company, but will not find it easy conceding 9kg to Knight Owl. In fact, another lightweight, Street Flyer, could pose the main threat with just 48kg on his back.


Selections

1st Race: (1) Destiny's Game (2) Varquera (3) Notquitethereyet (5) Royal Future

2nd Race: (3) Fariha (1) I Like It (2) Braxton (4) Rabia The Rebel

3rd Race: (3) Got The Greenlight (1) De La Cruz (2) Ehsaan (5) Rock The Globe

4th Race: (4) Targaryen Queen (1) Jive Express (2) Oh So Cold (3) Flirty Girty

5th Race: (1) Maroon Bells (2) Lasair (5) Toronto (3) Movie Magic

6th Race: (5) Boatswain (7) Tripod (3) Galactic Warrior (1) Alpine Glacier

7th Race: (5) Forest Express (1) Silver Thursday (3) Parisienne Chic (2) Gottalottaluv

8th Race: (7) Knight Owl (11) Street Flyer (1) Verdier (2) Defy Gravity