The Roy Magner-trained Prince Of Kahal caused a 15/1 shock in Saturday’s Grade 2 Jo’burg Spring Challenge over 1450m at the Turffontein Inside track on Saturday and he is now the highest earning horse in the country this season having won all three starts including two features.
Magner is undecided yet what Prince Of Kahal’s program will now be, not surprisingly, as he was looking held by the best sprinters in the land towards the end of last season, but took well to the step up in trip on Saturday and the question now is whether he can even step up to a mile.
Prince Of Kahal was bred by Clifton Stud and was brought up an orphan after his dam, Vogue, passed away from colic two weeks after he was born.
Vogue was by Model Man and was a half-sister to Grade 1-winning sprinter Warm White Night and to Grade 1 stayer Highland Night.
Trained by David Ferraris, she was a useful racehorse herself and finished second in the Grade 1 SA Fillies Sprint before an injury caused her early retirement as a young four-year-old.
Peter Blyth of Clifton Stud bordered her before later buying her from the owner. She became a stalwart broodmare for take KZN Midlands farm, producing the Grade 2 and Grade 3-winning middle distance horse Fort Vogue as well as the Grade 3 winner Whatalady.
She did not generally produce big foals, although Fort Vogue was big due to the influence of Fort Wood.
Blyth remembered Prince Of Kahal, who had to be fed substitute milk, as a small but lovely looking youngster.
Vogue’s passing was untimely but her legacy does continue at Clifton through her three-time winning daughter Fashion Talk and Prince Of Kahal’s unplaced full-sister Velvet Glove. The latter is being sent to the boom sire Vercingetorix, while Fashion Talk has a foal at foot by Mater Of My Fate and will now be covered by Clifton’s resident sire Mambo In Seattle.
Fort Vogue’s full sister Vogue’s Wood was unfortunately also a victim of colic while in foal.
On Saturday Prince Of Kahal’s 15/1 price was generous in retrospect and those who remembered his previous start beyond sprints, in the Grade 2 IOS Drill Hall Stakes over 1400m at Greyville in May 2018, would have been licking their lips. In that start he was baulked in the straight, causing him to be switched twice, yet he still stayed on well for sixth against some of the best horses in the country.
On Saturday the small but nuggety chestnut pulled hard early from a draw of six out of thirteen, but the fine young rider Denis Schwarz managed to hold him together until he had found cover and settled.
He turned for home handy and Schwarz then made the race winning move when easing him before switching him wide. This allowed him to get around Chimichuri Run as he would otherwise have been stuck behind the one-paced Ehsaan.
Prince Of Kahal then showed a fine turn of foot and ran on well all the way to the line to emerge in front in a blanket finish. However, it must be said that the fourth-placed horse Infamous Fox was most unlucky and would likely have won had he not been continually balked for a run by the hanging Zouaves as well as being accidentally struck twice on the face by Marco van Rensburg’s whip. The subsequent objections by both Infamous Fox and third-placed Chijmes against Zouaves were both upheld.
The Drill Hall run had shown Prince Of Kahal to be reasonably well handicapped off a mark of 95. Two subsequent below par runs saw him dropping to an 87. He was then gelded before last season so was looking potentially very well handicapped. This proved to be the case and he finished the season on 103, which included three wins and a second in the Grade 2 Senor Santa Handicap.
He was given a layoff after running a 2,35 length ninth in the Grade 1 Tsogo Sun Sprint over 1200m and won his seasonal reappearance in a Pinnacle Stakes event over 1000m on Turffontein Standside by three lengths.
He followed that up by winning the Grade 3 Spring Spree Stakes over 1200m on Turffontein Inside in a dead-heat with Angel’s Power, thus gaining bold black type.
His merit rating now, which includes the ten point across the board raise at the beginning of the season, is 118.
The five-year-old chestnut gelding has earned R1,073,788, having been bought by Hong Kong resident Robert Chung for a bargain R120, 000. Prince Of Kahal has amassed R403,125 so far this season.
By David Thiselton