General Franco impresses on debut

PUBLISHED: 17 April 2019

Miss Frankel (Candiese Marnewick)

Frankel is going to leave his mark on South Africa and General Franco’s impressive debut at Kenilworth yesterday indicated that he is going to be one of those to do it.

Miss Frankel has won a Listed race but, with all due respect to her, the CTS sale-topper looks as if he is going to be in a different league. A chestnut, with three long white socks, he started favourite for the opening Maiden Juvenile Plate and accelerated like a machine to lead 200m out to romp away and win easily. When Richard Fourie glanced left there was nothing there. The official margin over second-placed Three Two Charlie was three and a half lengths but even that hardly did justice to the impression he created.

Miss Frankel (Candiese Marnewick)
Miss Frankel (Candiese Marnewick)

Fourie said: “He wasn’t giving me any sort of feel early on and I thought to myself ‘He is probably going to need it.’ Going through the 400 he saw daylight and then he was a completely different horse. He wanted to be in front and he picked it up so quickly that he carved through the field and ran all the way to the line. He caught me by surprise but he is a quality horse and he is going places.”

He was meant to be doing that in the Listed race on Met day and he was favourite when sore shins forced his withdrawal. He was bought as a yearling for R4 million by John Freeman for Jack Mitchell and his daughter Nancy Hossack. Mitchell is in America being treated for serious illness and, as Freeman said, this performance will be a massive tonic.

“We are not comfortable paying that sort of money for horses, especially with the current stakes, but he has now proved that he was a good buy,” said Jono Snaith. “He is a horse we would like to earmark for the Cape Guineas and if he continues like this he could be a stallion one day. We might now put him away for a bit. Certainly we won’t go for all the juvenile features. He might run in one of them but that would be all.”

The stable failed to follow up with the much vaunted Amy Johnson in the fillies equivalent. She seemed to have trouble going the pace but ran a highly promising third. “She is lovely,” said Fourie. “She is not a five furlong horse but I was impressed that she was able to keep up.”

The race was won by the Fosters’ well supported Mirage, a R500 000 Captain Al confidently handled by M.J. Byleveld. “She is special and I think she has a really bright future,” said Vaughan Marshall. “She will go a mile so we are in no hurry with her.”

S’Manga Khumalo took a crashing fall when Ibra fell – for no obvious reason – in second place 100m out. He lay on the ground for quite some time and was taken by ambulance to Rondebosch Hospital reporting of a headache and a sore neck plus a possible left thumb injury.

By Michael Clower