The Mike Miller-trained Walls of Dubrovnik, in an unexpected turn of events which would have been unimaginable at the beginning of this season, will be racing for the biggest cheque of any horse in South Africa this weekend when he runs in the Listed Gatecrasher Stakes over 1400m at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Sunday.
When the new Hemel ‘n Aarde stallion Fencing Master arrived in South Africa in 2016 stallion manager David Allan of David Allan Bloodlines announced a R1-million bonus to be potentially distributed among the three best two-year-olds conceived by this stallion in his first covering season.
UK-based Colin Bird owns Fencing Master and Allan announced that in support of the British-bred stallion the owner, trainer and breeder of his three best black type two-year-olds conceived in 2016 would receive respective bonuses of R 500,000, 300,000 and 200,000 respectively.
On first interpretation it seems the money will be split between owner, trainer and breeder.
Walls Of Dubrovnik went within 1,4 lengths of laying claim to the R500,000 cheque on June 13 when finishing fourth in the Grade 3 Godolphin Barb Stakes over 1100m he would have gained black type with a third place finish.
Mike Miller’s son and assistant, Sterling, said the colt had been a bit unlucky that day as a horse had played up in the stall next to him and he had consequently lost a length at the jump. He had also needed the run a bit.
Sterling added, “He will strip fitter, he loves Hollywoodbets Greyville and if he stays the 1400m he is a massive runner. He travelled a little well in his last run but he doesn’t normally do that. It looks like there will be a fair pace and we will be looking for cover. We have a lot of respect though for Anton Marcus’s mount Fast Love.”
Sterling is happy with the draw of seven out of thirteen.
Walls Of Dubrovnik will be ridden by regular pilot Eric Ngwane.
Fencing Master is by the prominent SA-based sire Oratorio.
His best performance was second in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket over seven furlongs.
His dam won a Group 1 over 2000m in France and his grandam won three Group 1s up to 2100m in France, so on pedigree Walls Of Dubrovnik should relish the 1400m trip on Sunday.
Mike Miller found Walls Of Dubrovnik at the Sibaya Yearling Sale. Sterling described him as being “five star” on looks at this sale and he was clinched for R120,000.
Walls Of Dubrovnik was sold to new owners today (Friday) in a deal brokered by Justin Vermaak.
The Miller yard also have two other runners in the Gatectrasher, Crushing Force and Royal Exhibit.
Sterling said, “Crushing Force is a nice big horse and should be up there. Royal Exhibit is still learning and we hope he runs on nicely.”
Of their other runners on the day he said Arctic Refuge in the first would likely need the experience; in the tenth Hello Again and Power To Command were both doing “extremely well” and were difficult to separate on the weight turnaround and he would be happy if they placed.
By David Thiselton