The Galileo influence

LIKE A Panther, Tuesday’s fluent eye-catcher on the Classic track at the Vaal, is set for a three-month campaign that will culminate in the CTS Million Dollar Mile or the Gr1 Cape Derby on Sun Met Day, 2018.

Like A Panther, contesting his fourth career start, stepped into a MR84 Handicap over 2000m and bludgeoned his opposition. He was full of running under Callan Murray with 300m to go, received a left-handed reminder to straighten his chest and quickened away smartly to win by two lengths from Amsterdam and Silver Peg.

Like A Panther, full of running.

Like A Panther, full of running.

“This was a small field full of hard-knocking handicappers, I am always impressed by three-year-olds
that win handicaps at this time of the year. We have a promising colt here, said Mike de Kock.

Like A Panther was purchased at the CTS Premier Yearling Sale in 2016 and Mike told: “He was on our shortlist, an impressive looking Klawervlei-bred by Captain Al from a mare by Galileo. He was easy to like. The influence of Galileo is dominant in the whole of Europe – the stallion himself, his sons and his mares, so some of the bigger buyers were keen to get involved and we put a nice bunch of owners together.”

Auctioneer Andrew Miller knocked down a final bid of R2,2-million for the partnership of owners comprising De Kock, Bernard Kantor, Diane Nagle, Mayfair Speculators, US-based David Graham and prominent US bloodstock consultant Justin Casse.

“Most of Like A Panther‘s owners will be in Cape Town next January so it will be great to have him racing there at the time, but besides that he looks promising enough to take on the top three-year-olds. We raced him only twice as a two-year-old and he was beaten twice but we always knew he‘d excel as an older horse. We bypassed the Durban season, gave him time to furnish and mature and now we have a nice horse on our hands.”

Mike will be considering the Gr2 Dingaans over 1600m at Turffontein on 25 November as a first stop en route to the Cape Derby. He said: “The way he won his Maiden over a mile gives us enough hope for the Dingaans, he has shown enough speed and with the long-run in he could be all over them in the finish.

“We‘ll enter Like A Panther for the Dingaans, but we‘ll keep options open. With the travel restrictions to consider it may be better to get him down to Cape Town as soon as possible. He has lots of potential and we have some decisions to make.”

First Published in Turf Talk Newsletter.