Nother Russia knuckles down!

TRUE champions sometimes look as good as beaten in a race, but go on to win anyway.

Such was the case with five-year-old Nother Russia, who looked near defeated in Sunday’s Gr2 Ipi Tombe Challenge over 1600m at Turffontein, but somehow managed to hang on to record a hat-trick of high-level victories.

Nother Russia (12-10), on the pace, moved into the lead when Craig Zackey shook her up with 400m to run, but with 150m left to the line she started to labour and was going to be swamped by an ominously threatening pack of challengers on both sides of her beautiful chestnut-coloured frame.

But she wasn’t overhauled. There was a moment inside the final 50m when she drew on her reserves, clenched the bit and drove  herself over the line ahead of a flying Bi-Pot, at which Anthony Delpech threw the kitchen sink, followed closely by She’s A Giver and Sylvan On Fire. Less than a length covered the first four past the post.

Nother Russia, fought gamely. (JC Photos).

Nother Russia, fought gamely. (JC Photos).

Zackey, who’d fought a bout of flu during the week but wouldn’t miss his ride on Nother Russia for the world, said: “I’m excited. She still needed the run but got up. She’s saving her best for Cape Town!”

“This is the rewarding bit of racing, seeing the champions in action,” said Mike de Kock in praise of Nother Russia. “She’s a favourite in the stable and mind you her mother was one of our favourites too,” he added.

Mike added: “Nother Russia was a gift from the great Mother Russia, who sadly died after passing on only one foal to us, but the foal she let is a Grade 1 winner.  She is worth her weight in gold as a broodmare.

“Thanks to the team at Mauritzfontein.  Nother Russia has had two spells there and has come back better after a break twice.”

Jessica Slack, who races Nother Russia in Mauritzfontein’s famous black-and-yellow silks, said: “ I can’t begin to express my excitement and gratitude to the stable and to Mum (Mary Slack) for breeding her.  And thanks to Craig Zackey for a professional ride. He is always so cool and collected.”

Nother Russia, by Tiger Ridge, has won 7 of 12 races and R1,482-million in stakes.

Mary Slack herself had a day to remember, winning the Dingaans with Alistair Gordon-trained Monks Hood and the closing event over 1400m with three-year-old La Linea, a daughter of Dynasty and Slack’s brilliant mare Europa Point, who won six races back-to-back to end her nine-win career, including two Gr1 races.

“La Linea comes from a great female line. We didn’t know what to expect after her first run, but she showed us tonight what she was capable of,” said Mike de Kock of the filly, who won by 1.30-lengths but was eased down well short of the line.

La Linea, great female line.

La Linea, great female line.