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Picture: 123RF/CHRIS VAN LENNEP
Picture: 123RF/CHRIS VAN LENNEP

While Drakenstein has enjoyed considerable success in the first part of this year, there is a chance of Mary Slack trumping the Cape stud with a unique Royal Ascot-Durban July double.

The first leg is home and hosed with a horse called Claymore capturing last week’s Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot and — on July 2 — Slack’s filly Sparkling Water has a bright chance in the Hollywoodbets Durban July.

Robert Burns’s saying that “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry” could not have been more appropriate ahead of last Thursday’s Hampton Court Stakes at Ascot. Pundits and punters were united in the belief that the queen’s filly, Reach For The Moon the 2-5 favourite, would give her majesty a winner in her platinum jubilee year.

After finishing last in the 2000 Guineas, Slack’s runner Claymore was only given a place chance but the son of New Bay responded to Adam Kirby’s urgings to beat Frankie Dettori on the favourite.

“It’s a shame for the queen but Claymore has always been a proper horse,” said Kirby as he returned to the winner’s enclosure.

Slack was on course to greet her winner and said: “I’m delighted. We thought he’d run well in France but he was hopeless. Now this is a return. I hardly watched really — I couldn’t be more excited. I haven’t been to these heights before.”

Claymore is trained by Jane Chappell-Hyam who was saddling her second winner of the week after Saffron Beach’s success in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes on Wednesday.

“It’s been a great week and it’s lovely his owner Mary Slack has come over from SA. Hopefully he’ll stand at one of her farms one day. There’s no plan for him yet, wherever Mary wants to go, we’ll send him.”

One result which will have delighted Slack was the second career win for her British-bred filly Good Queen Bess who took the ninth race at Scottsville a shade cosily in the hands of Richard Fourie.

To say the daughter of Kingman has been a frustration is an understatement as the Mike de Kock inmate has let punters down on a number of occasions. But De Kock’s decision to bring Good Queen Bess back to a sprint distance proved the right move and one had to fancy the filly’s chance judged on her second to Freed From Desire last October.

Two favourites, She’s A Keeper and Senso Unico, both started at 33-20 at Scottsville on Saturday and both fluffed their lines to the shock of many punters.

Warren Kennedy was never able to overcome the worst draw and failed to mount a challenge on She’s A Keeper in the Track And Ball Oaks over 2,400m. Victory went to Brett Crawford’s Futura filly Pink Tourmaline who beat home Light Of The Moon with She’s A Keeper finishing fourth.

Some pundits have been mentioning Senso Unico as a possible Durban July contender, but those hopes went out of the window with the Twice Over gelding beaten over three lengths in the Track And Ball Derby.

Once again, it was Muzi Yeni to the fore and he got the best out of 14-1 chance Decorated to take top honours for trainer Frank Robinson.

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