Picture: 123RF/KZENON
Picture: 123RF/KZENON

The racing industry is mourning the death on Tuesday of Pat Cavendish O’Neill, the great animal lover, author, racehorse trainer and breeder associated with former champion breeders, Broadlands Stud. She was 93.

O’Neill was an activist and a philanthropist, who will be remembered not only for breeding top thoroughbreds. In the 1990s, she turned Broadlands from a stud farm into an animal sanctuary and her lasting endeavours included her well-publicised campaign of rescuing lobsters from restaurants, to playing nanny to animals of all shapes and sizes — all who took refuge at her picturesque Somerset West farm.

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Former champion jockey Garth Puller recalled a great horsewoman who made a huge contribution to racing and breeding with influential stallions and imports from Australia of high-class broodmares.

Puller told Sporting Post: “After riding work, we would have breakfast and be surrounded by what felt like 17 dogs of all shapes and sizes, chimpanzees, birds, parrots. She was a great lover of animals and one of the most remarkable people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.”

Trainer Stuart Pettigrew recently acquired five-time winner American Indian from the veteran Ormond Ferraris, who handed in his licence in May. The four-year-gelding makes his debut for Pettigrew’s stable in race 4 over 2,400m at the Vaal on Thursday.

American Indian has failed twice over this distance, but Pettigrew has a knack with stayers and the son of Traffic Guard is expected to put up a good showing for his new stable.

Pettigrew’s Gottalottaluv will be one of the fancied fillies in race 5 over 2,000m, where the likely favourite Pretty Border will be hampered by a huge 62,5kg on her back and Anton Marcus looks to be on the best weighted runner, Lady Val, from Mike de Kock’s yard.

Lady Val was beaten four lengths by Vistula in a 1,600m contest at the Vaal on May 21 and Vistula franked the form by winning another good race last week, a good pointer to what we can expect on Thursday.

Vaal selections:

Race 1: (1) Jay Bomb (10) Hot Stwings (4) Just My Luck (3) Caftan

Race 2: (2) Allyouneedislove (3) Before The Dawn (12) Snow Palace (5) Gallic Princess

Race 3: (1) Jet Storm (2) Fort Carol (10) Blue Flute (9) Atomic Blonde

Race 4: (2) American Indian (4) Horace (3) Wonderous Climber (1) Drommedaris

Race 5: (4) Lady Val (1) Pretty Border (2) Gottalottaluv (3) Pretty Ballerina

Race 6: (15) All I Got (7) Itsmydarlin (5) Live In Love (3) Jolly Josephine

Race 7: (9) Double O’Eight (6) Three Stars (2) Dalai’s Promise (1) Winter Watch

Race 8: (2) Reconnaissance (4) Royal City (7) Prince Jordan (12) Pieces Of Gold