Beautifully ridden by Chase Maujean, Bingwa proved he is a top miller as he coasted to a 3.25-length victory in the Allied Steelrode – OnamissionMile at Turffontein on Saturday.
Trained by Dorrie Sham, Bingwa went off at 14-1 and beat home the Paul Peter-trained pair of Astrix (25-1) and MK’s Pride (11-2) with Al Muthana (5-2), who started as tote favourite, in fourth.
Early favourite Malmoos looked dangerous halfway up the straight but was one-paced and finished up in eighth spot, beaten 5.65 lengths, while Got The Greenlight did not produce his usual powerful finish and ended up ninth, just a head behind Malmoos. Both will come on with this run under their belts.
Bingwa is the Swahili word for champion, and this four-year-old Pathfork gelding certainly lived up to his name.
He has always been a specialist at 1600m but the concern was that he had to jump from No 15 draw. “When we discussed tactics I told Mrs Sham we were going to come out positive and take our chances,” said Maujean.
“But it was quite alarming. I never expected to get into that position. Before I knew it I saw an opening for me and I was in fourth place. I would have taken that position if I was drawn No 4.
“It was phenomenal!”
Calvin Habib took Astrix into an early lead from Ikigai. Seeham was third on the rail with Bingwa on his outside while MK’s Pride and Warren Kennedy sat around four lengths off the leader. Malmoos was positioned on the outside of stable companion Al Muthana in midfield with Got The Greenlight and Pack Leader at the rear.
Astrix continued to lead in the straight with MK’s Pride moving into contention. Al Muthana made his move down the inside with Malmoos switching out for a run. But with around 500m to go Maujean took Bingwa into the lead down the centre of the track and from that point on it was just a matter of who would fill the places.
Sham admitted she had been extremely worried about the draw. “I phoned the owners and suggested we should nominate for the Victory Moon and see how we draw there, but they said we should take our chances and run him from the draw, so this win is all thanks to the Stonebridge family.”
She also described Bingwa as “the most perfect horse you can have”.
“He is never lame, he sleeps, he eats – he’s just a big, plain brown horse. But you can’t see what’s inside – and that part of him is amazing.”
The two people behind the sponsorship from Allied Steelrode – Warne Rippon and Arun Chadha – were on course to present the trophy to the winners.
“We are two people from different parts of the world who came together through horseracing,” said Rippon. “We’re on a mission to do better things for the country and racing needs support from corporates. This sponsorship was Arun’s brainchild and we are here for the long run.”
Chadha explained. “The whole idea of doing this was to get corporates into horseracing. Many of the corporates do not know about this. They do not know that it does not cost an arm and a leg to do it.
“We want this sport to survive in this country, so we thought we would start this, and try to attract other corporates in.”