Mount Laurel shows promise

PUBLISHED: 22 October 2019

Mount Laurel (JC Photographics)

The Gary Alexander yard have an exciting prospect in the Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein Stud-bred filly Mount Laurel, who was an impressive winner of an MR 99 Handicap for three-year-old fillies over 1450m on the Turffontein Inside track on Saturday. She remains unbeaten after three starts.

The Ideal World filly carried 53,5kg off a merit rating of 86 against some promising sorts and ran on powerfully from second last to win by a comfortable 2,75 lengths under Dennis Schwarz. 

Alexander will be patient with her and although entered in the Grade 3 Starling Stakes on Peermont Emperor’s Palace Charity Mile day he said she was unlikely to run as he felt she was still too immature. 

Mount Laurel (JC Photographics)
Mount Laurel (JC Photographics)

He said the long term plan for her would be the Wilgerbosdrift Triple Tiara next year.

South African cricket legend Jimmy Cook is among the syndicate who own her.

“We’ve known Jimmy for a long time and he loves his racing,” said Alexander. “We have had a number of cricketing owners in our yard over the years including Richard Snell and Ken Rutherford.” 

Mount Laurel has proved herself effective from 1000m to 1450m and should get further being by stamina influence Ideal World out of a mare by stamina influence Fort Wood. This one time-winning Fort Wood mare is a half-sister to the Grade 1-winning miler and now sire Noordhoek Flyer, who  finished second in the Grade 1 Cape Derby over 2000m.

Therefore, Mount Laurel should stay the 1800m of the Grade 1 SA Fillies Classic on the tough Turffontein Standside course and the SA Oaks is also not an unrealistic target. 

Gary gave the credit to his brother Dean for picking her out at the BSA National Two-year-old Sale as he himself was away on holiday at the time.

He said, “We have been together for years and there is no doubt Dean can pick a horse.”

They landed her for a bargain R50,000.

Gary continued, “Mount Laurel has a beautiful dam line and it was maybe the market which allowed us to get her at that price. We have our criteria when looking at horses and don’t worry what they go for. Our yard has landed a lot of good horses for that sort of price range. Pierre Jourdan, Icy Air and Imperious Sue all cost just R60,000 each. If the horse is an athlete you are half-way there. Pierre Jourdan was a beautiful athlete but didn’t have the nicest head. But London News also didn’t have the best looking head. They don’t run with their heads. Mount Laurel is a nice looking filly, you can’t fault her. You can sometimes get lucky in the bidding, but others we have liked go for too much. If it’s your day, it’s your day.”

Alexander said running her in the Grade 3 Fillies Mile on Gauteng Summer Cup day would be a possibility.

He said it might depend on the draw and added, “The draw has been important in Gauteng lately.”

This is due to the fast going caused by the lack of rain.

He was relieved to see some rain forecast this week which would slow the going down.   

The Alexander yard have 75 horses at present and are looking to buy more in a couple of weeks’ time at the BSA Ready To Run Sale.

Gary said, “The Ready To Run sale has been very good to us.” 

Pierre Jourdan was among the horses they found at this sale.

The yard’s other best horses at present include four-year-old Ato gelding Chijmes, who fined a head second in the Grade 2 Johannesburg Spring Challenge over 1450, Chijmes’ twice-winning half-sister Gaian Glory (Visionaire) and the rangy Philanthropist filly Magic School. He also still has hopes for the syndicated filly Just Kidding and there is also the older soldier Unagi.

Alexander felt syndication was important at present due to the expense of ownership and the yard pour a lot of marketing into this strategy.

By David Thiselton