MALMOOS WINS SA DERBY
Jack Milner: They did it! Malmoos decimated his rivals in the Grade 1 World Sports Betting SA Derby while War Of Athena destroyed her opposition in the Grade 2 Wilgerbosdrift SA Oaks to claim the SA Triple Crown and the SA Triple Tiara respectively.
Both races were run over 2450m on the Standside track at Turffontein on Saturday and any doubts whether either of them would see out the distance were emphatically dispelled.
This was the first time the Triple Crown and Triple Tiara were both won at the same race meeting.
Luke Ferraris, although only 19 years old, handled Malmoos like a veteran as he brought the Mike de Kock-trained runner from seventh place to hit the front 400m from home. From then on, he just sailed away to beat Pamushana’s Pride by 5.25 lengths with Second Base a head back in third and anther 1.90 lengths to fourth-placed Shah Akbar.
“He’s changed my life, this horse,” said Ferraris. “It’s also a fitting win for Sheikh Hamdan. I’m very grateful for what he has done for me.”
Owner Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum passed away 10 days ago.
“I had a lot of butterflies before the race but the butterflies disappeared once the gates opened,” added Ferraris. “But once he started going through his gears the butterflies came back again.
“But there’s not much more I can say. He’s shown everybody what he can do.
“The way he put everyone away in the Classic, I has confident going into the race but in racing, anything can happen, so I didn’t want to shout about it.
“But I know what he can do.”
Retired veteran trainer Ormond Ferraris, who turned 90 last Wednesday, was on course to share in his grandson’s Triple Crown Triumph.
De Kock has also rewritten the record books as he has now claimed the SA Triple Crown for the second time. He won it in 1999 with Horse Chestnut and he has captured the SA Triple Tiara, in 2011 with Igugu.
“It’s a huge day for the stable, for South Africa and obviously for Sheikh Hamdan. He has left a huge hole in the lives of people in Dubai, his family and certainly our stable over here. So this is a fitting tribute and even send off, if you want, that he gets a Triple Crown winner over here,” said De Kock.
Talking about Malmoos, he added: “He’s the real deal. He has the looks, the pedigree and thankfully he will go to stud in South Africa.”
De Kock indicated that the Grade 1 Premier’s Champions Challenge over 2000m at Turffontein could be his next mission, where he could come up against the likes of Summer Pudding.
“I’m not sure about taking him to Durban. We’re not hellbent on going to the Durban July. He’s had a hell of a season and we’ll see how he comes through it. Don’t forget we also took him to Cape Town. He’s been on the boil for a long time.
“The horse will tell us. If he’s sound and happy, we will have a crack at it. But these days the July is tough on three-year-olds, the ratings are crazy. But we’ll see.”
Ridden By Muzi Yeni, War Of Athena cruised to a comfortable victory in the Wilgerbosdrift SA Oaks to become the fourth winner of the Triple Tiara. Trained by Paul Matchett, the daughter of Act Of War came from some 20 lengths off the pace turning for home to hit the front 300m out.
Her only challenger was Sparkling Water, who had got a dream run down the inside rail, but with 150m to go Yeni was already looking over his shoulder and it was clear War Of Athena was far too good.
Two lengths back in second place came Sparkling Water with another seven lengths to Netta in third. Magical Flight completed the Quartet.
There was a good pace set in the Oaks and t is worth noting the time for the fillies’ race was run in 1.23secs faster than the Derby.
War Of Athena, who cost just R30,000 at the Ready To Run Sale and is owned by Roy Wentzel and Dr Rose Waterman-Wentzel, claimed the R1-million Triple Tiara bonus.
“She’s phenomenal,” said Yeni. “She just gets better and better, she’s gaining in confidence, she showed what a class filly she is and wow, was she impressive.
“She relaxed like a stayer and she the wanted to turn it on like it was a 1200m race.”
This was the second feature-race victory on the day for Yeni as he also claimed the Grade 1 HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes with Got The Greenlight. The Joe Soma-trained four-year-old got away from the field with 300m to go and then kept going to hold off a fast-finishing Copper Mountain by 0.50 lengths.
Tierra Del Fuego ran third with Cirillo in fourth.
The carryover Pick 6 pool exceeded the predicted R5 million mark but with every favourite winning, three of them odds-on, the payout of R265.30 was the lowest of all time. But at least most people found themselves in the payout queue.