Craig Zackey gets high praise

THE supporters of Jessica Slack’s four-year-old filly Nother Russia would have felt that her chance of winning was all but gone when the yellow-and-black silks turned for home perhaps 15 lengths out of her ground in Saturday’s GR3 Acacia Handicap over 1600m at Turffontein.

Nother Russia did the near impossible, however. She rapidly made up the ground between herself and the front runners between the 600m and the 250m-mark, switched out bravely to get a clear run and then stormed away for a win that smacked of courage and a bit of attitude!

Jockey Craig Zackey has been full of compliments for Nother Russia since the first day he got on her back and they haven’t been separated in her career eight starts that have yielded four wins so far. The good thing is, Nother Russia is getting better and she is unlikely to retire to stud without chalking up another win or two.

Nother Russia (Craig Zackey) in full cry.

Nother Russia (Craig Zackey) in full cry.

Zackey said: “I’ve stuck with Nother Russia, she’s something special and I love her to bits. Thanks to Mat and the Slack family for keeping me on her. From her wide draw we decided to keep her out of trouble, drop her out. She made good headway when I asked her, I knew that she could turn it on and I’m very pleased with how she won.”

Mary Slack did the honours on behalf of her daughter, leading in the Tiger Ridge filly from the star mare Mother Russia, who’d won a host of majors in her own red-and-black silks including the 2011 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate.

Mary said: “Nother Russia is by Tiger Ridge from Mother Russia, it was a match made in heaven but we’ve lost both. I didn’t expect her to win from that far back. Well done to Craig Zackey who rode a super race.”

Jessica Slack, away on a fly-fishing trip, managed to watch the race live on and she was equally impressed with Zackey’s ride, saying: “Craig rode like a star, he never chased Nother Russia or rattle her, he let her find her feet.  He has been with her from the beginning, she trusts him now. She was so brave to run on from so far back and from her 15 draw.

“Thanks also to Mat and his team for their hard work and patience with her. She is so special but she has not been straight forward. It was a magic and amazing win and I am still pinching myself.  I loved Tiger Ridge, I think his fillies are the best. What can I say, Wilgerbosdrift breeds champions!”