No Bull, Valley boy can run

No Bull, Valley boy can run


Mike Moon: Bull Valley has come from nowhere to make a grab at the title of best sprinter in the land in the space of six weeks. His impressive win in the Grade 1 Mercury Sprint on Saturday came off the back of an equally good performance in the Grade 1 Tsogo Sun Sprint in late June.

The four-year-old son of Toreador started as the 9-2 second favourite and looked like a very worthy back-up to stable mate Trip To Heaven (5-2 favourite) in the 1200m contest around the tight Greyville turn – one of the “big four” sprints in South Africa.

When Trip To Heaven decided to stand still as his starting gate opened – an abiding problem for the speedy son of Trippi – Bull Valley needed no second invitation to take control of the race.

Away quickly from an inside draw, jockey Karl Zechner positioned Bull Valley just a couple of strides off the pace, which was set by London Call, ahead of Search Party, New Predator and Rivarine.

Trip To Heaven eventually lurched from his stall, ducked outwards, gathered himself awkwardly and set off after the field. But he was already a dozen lengths behind and, though he rallied well in the straight, he could do no better than sixth place, 2.60 lengths behind the winner.

Bull Valley, by contrast, had a problem-free trip, cruising up to the front rank in the final 400m and then easing ahead to win by a length from Search Party (20-1) – who was also runner-up to him in the Tsogo at Scottsville. New Predator (6-1) was just behind in third, with London Call (16-1) hanging on for fourth place.

Bull Valley’s record of just 10 runs in more than two years tells a tale of unsoundness, but the six victories are ample reward for the connections’ patience with a talented galloper.

Trainer Sean Tarry was full of admiration for “a brave horse”.

“He’s had his setbacks, but he’s come through beautifully.”

The champion trainer also had praise for rider Karl Zechner, who he’d specially picked for the ride as he thought the Joburg jock would suit the four-year-old gelding.

Zechner said he galloped Bull Valley in training during the week and it had been “winning work”.

“In the race, I had to follow one or two, but I wasn’t concerned. As we turned for home he glided towards them and I knew I had it in the bag,” said Zechner.

Bull Valley, bred by Ambiance Stud, is by Toreador out of the Saumarez mare Star Of Liberty. His six wins from 10 runs have amassed more than R1.6-million.

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