Tsogo Sun Sprint

28 MAY 2017

Jockey Gunther Wrogemann might well have been singing “Brave Mary keep on rolling” when the Brave Tin Soldier filly burst away from the opposition to win the R750 000, Grade 1 Allan Robertson Championship at Scottsville on Saturday.

Carrying the action name given to the American Indian activist Mary Brave Bird in the 70’s, and costing a mere R40 000, Brave Mary stunned the large crowd at Scottsville and, even more so, the fancied runners Call To Account, Green Plains and Neptune’s Rain when she tore away to post a time of 68.3 secs, a fraction faster than the smart Dennis Drier-trained Twice Over colt Sand And Sea, that impressively won the Tsogo Sun Medallion.

Trainer Paul Matchett did not appear that surprised in the interview after Brave Mary, a daughter of the Rich Man’s Gold mare Mary Lou that he had trained to win six races, skated clear of the field. A former Zimbabwean top trainer and for years very competitive on the Highveld, Paul obviously had a good idea of what he had in his care to travel from Gauteng to Scottsville for just one runner on the day.

That confidence will have come from the filly’s last race over 1 000m at the Vaal where she bolted away from the maiden field to win by 6.5 lengths in the cracking time for a juvenile of 56.79 secs. Saturday’s performance will have strengthened his belief in her talent and she looks a very exciting prospect for the future.

Following up in the R750 000, Grade 1 Tsogo Sun Medallion, Sand And Sea was awesomely impressive in pulverising a field that included some very exciting young colts and geldings to give Dennis Drier his seventh victory in the prestigious race and his sixth in eight years. Strongly fancied to beat the Mike de Kock-trained favourite Naafer, his supporter’s hearts will have dropped when he virtually walked out of the pens at the start and trailed the field in the early stages.

But when Anton Marcus said giddy up boy the colt quickened and before long it was race over as he skipped clear to win by 2.25 lengths relieving what was no doubt a few seconds of tension for his conditioner.

Then it was time for the queen of sprint in South Africa, Carry On Alice, to take the stage for her grand finale on the track before going off to stud and she treated the public to another scintillating performance to win the R750 000, Grade 1 South African Fillies Sprint for trainer Sean Tarry who, together with owner Chris van Niekerk, shed a little tear at memories of what she had achieved and sorrow that she is being retired.

For Tarry, however, the smiles soon returned when the Toreador gelding Bull Valley, that he had taken over from retired trainer Dom Zaki a year ago, demolished a strong sprinting field to win the top race of the day, the R1-million, Grade 1 Tsogo Sun Sprint, giving Tarry a Grade 1 double for the day and pushing his stake earnings in the season to a record high which cemented his place at the top of the trainer log.

A day of mixed results and fortunes with Brave Mary demolishing the opposition and, as a 27-1 winner, the Pick 6 hopes of thousands leaving an eventual payout of R970 000 and some change.

By Richard McMillan