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Koos Nkale — one of many happy owners with horses in training with Paul Peter — saw his top-class performer MK’s Pride achieve something his favourite soccer team failed to do last weekend.
While MK’s Pride took his career earnings beyond R1m by winning the Joburg Spring Challenge at Turffontein, Nkale’s soccer side Kaizer Chiefs had to settle for a draw with AmaZulu.
An ebullient character not afraid to speak his mind (“go and get jabbed,” he implored in a previous interview), former school teacher Nkale can be said to have won the Lotto in his first venture into racehorse ownership.
MK’s Pride was a horse nobody wanted as a yearling so Nkale stepped in and it has proved the shrewdest move of his life. Of course, the plaudits for the four-year-old’s rise to the premier league of racing goes to trainer Peter and 2019/2020 champion jockey Warren Kennedy. They are the Appleby and Buick (top trainer and jockey in the UK) of SA racing.
In the Spring Challenge, both men would have been aware that the race presented the son of Willow Magic with his toughest task to date as the opposition included Got the Greenlight. MK’s Pride proved up to the task and — surprisingly — it was 16-1 chance Bingwa who made Peter’s star pull out all the stops.
As far as the Summer Cup is concerned, bookmaker Lance Michael’s reaction was to trim Bingwa’s odds to 33-1 with Got the Greenlight remaining favourite at 4-1.
In the latest top-20 log on the Summer Cup — scheduled for November 27 — Dorrie Sham’s charge has moved up from 14th place to 10th. Express FromtheUS and Tierra Del Fuego, both unplaced in the Spring Challenge, have dropped down to 13th place and 17th place respectively.
The Peter stable made it seven wins in two meetings with a treble at the Vaal on Monday and several punters must be considering to take the 19-10 on offer about the Gauteng trainer winning his first championship.
In Sunday’s supporting feature — the Joburg F&M Spring Challenge — Peter’s filly Big Burn was expected to play second fiddle to Sean Tarry’s runner Under Your Spell. About 300m from the finish, Lyle Hewitson was beginning to send out distress signals on the 6-13 favourite and he could never peg back Big Burn who kicked clear to score by a length and a half.
Big Burn — a R300,000 buy from Narrow Creek Stud — is a daughter of Elusive Fort who is having a big year, as his son Kommetdieding won the Durban July.
Another Peter four-year-old climbing the ladder to better things is Shangani, who made it two wins from three starts when justifying favouritism at the city track on Sunday. The gelding is worth following as he has very few miles on the clock.
• The crowd of 15,000 that attended Sunday’s Prix de L’Arc De Triomphe in Paris was a quarter of the usual attendance at the meeting.
Olivier Delloye, CEO of France-Galop, said: “This was the first step towards a more normal Arc. The attendance is what we could reasonably expect knowing the drop in sales of tickets in the UK ahead of the event.”
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.