RACINGWEB this week described the 2003 Summer Cup as “undoubtedly the best of the last decade” and described the memorable finish between Yard Arm and Wolf Whistle, who went head-to-head over the last 200m.
That famous finish: Wolf Whistle (obscured), pips Yard-Arm.
Neither Piere Strydom on Geoff Woofruff’s Yard-Arm or Kevin Shea on Mike de Kock’s Wolf Whistle were prepared to give an inch on that day, 29 November 2003. Knowing that this was about to develop into a battle of epic proportions, the two vastly experienced jockeys steered their mounts purposefully towards each other for a thrilling furlong-match that pitched the final moments of this memorable contest to high fever.
Nostrils flaring, as if electrically charged by the support of a large and excited crowd, Yard Arm and Wolf Whistle sensed, too, that this would be the biggest moment of their lives. With their determined pair of riders bringing lock, stock and barrel to the riveting denoument of this championship, they drew on every ounce of energy in their formidable frames.
At the 100m-mark two noble thoroughbred heads were locked together, they raced as if two equines had become one, which called for certain emergency measures! Yard-Arm and Wolf Whistle were well within biting range; they decided to keep it clean, but Strydom just wouldn’t yield to his few-years-older colleague and Shea gave him the middle finger in response.
‘The Pastor’ threw all 53kg of him and the 5kg of dead weight in his saddle bag at the powerhouse with the broad copper-tinged hindquarters. In the process, he didn’t forget to let an elbow fly at Strydom, and then another as the blonde rider struck readily back with what could have been elbow and forearm.
In the course of this vigorous brawl, Yard-Arm nudged his head marginally in front, but as the post arrived the son of Badger Land gave one last, almighty lurch and when the judge studied the photo, his nose had touched the line first.
The brave brawlers had no sooner crossed the line than the siren sounded to signal a race review by the stipendiary stewards. This was followed by couple of minutes later by an announcement that Strydom had laid an objection against the winner on the grounds of bumping and intimidation.
The Stipendiary Stewards, after viewing the patrol films and examining the evidence, decided that despite the interference Yard-Arm would not have finished in front of Wolf Whistle. The objection was overruled.
Diane de Kock with the Mighty Wolf, a lead horse in Dubai, Mick Patton is his rider.
* Wolf Whistle, by Badger Land from Certainly was bred by Bush Hill Stud and owned by Peter Sargent, Mike Egan, Hans Enderle, Bill Fenner and Paul Harris. He was shipped to Dubai in 2004 and won two of five starts, including the 2005 Al Rashidiya (Group 3), when his familiar fighting spirirt counted in a close finish. On retirement in 2006 , due to his tempermant, size and presence, he was selected to be the Lead Horse at Nad Al Sheba.