Maybe Diva, Black Caviar and more recently Winks, have been the iron horses of modern day Australian racing. Their performances on the racetrack are legendary but the one thing that they all have in common is their age, sex and iron will.
This exalted trio raced to an age where most thoroughbred racehorses will have been retired to the breeding shed, hacking brigade or show jumping arenas. But with hardly a blemish on their form in an age where most fillies and mares – and males for that matter – will have been put out to grass and deemed past their sell-by date, they soldier on into equine immortality.
The Pat Lunn owned and trained – officially by Johan Janse van Vuuren – Ginger Biscuit hardly fits the bill as super star but in common is that she is eight years old and soldiered to her ninth career victory at Hollywoodbets Greyville yesterday.
The daughter of Admire Main, not a popular commercial stallion, was bought for R20k as a yearling and in seven seasons has clocked up 79 races and her ninth win.
Lunn is a man of few words but Keagan de Melo, successful with a top class ride on Mythos in the second for Dean Kannemeyer, expanded a little.
“Very gutsy,” he said when quizzed post-race by Paul Lafferty, one-time assistant to Lunn in the days of yore. “When she comes to the course you can always rely on her to finish in the first three. Today she won and is a bonus and she truly deserve it. She is very consistent and I just enjoy riding her.”
Serino Moodley is fast making a name for himself as a solid and reliable rider and although in the past he has fallen foul of authority for his over enthusiastic use of the stick, he still managers to get his mounts in the right place at the right time. With legendary jockey Michael Roberts in the background giving advice, it’s not surprising that he is maturing. He scored on the Roberts-trained rank outsider Forever Amber on the first but was more kind to punters in the seventh as he steered Guru’s Pride to an easy win, bursting through late to win as he liked.
It is not often that a jockey is priced up favourite for seven out of eight races on the card – and probably eight had his mount not been scratched – but Anton Marcus is in warm demand in KZN by all trainers. Although when he calls for a ride, you can knock two or three points off the bookmaker’s odds regardless of the form.
But being favourite and winning are two different scenarios and in South Africa where conspiracy theories abound for little more reason than a punter has ‘done’ his cash, opinions can get heated.
There have been a few ugly scenes of disgruntled punters verbally abusing, trainers, officials and jockeys at the past two Hollywoodbets Greyville meetings, and while one can admire their passion, their poor behaviour cannot be condoned. There are other avenues of complaint to the stipendiary stewards – views legitimate or not.
By Andrew Harrison