FIVE-year-old Headstrong has made the headline photo column on this website a few times this year, but with good reason.
The mare by Pivotal won the second race of her career on 28 February and has posted another six victories since, the most recent when getting her head in front a few strides from the line in a Conditions Plate over 1450m on the sand track at the Vaal on Tuesday, 30 November.
This proved to be Headstrong’s toughest task to date, but she showed remarkable courage having to draw on all her reserves to hold on from Bella Jet, who ran on well late and would have won in another stride.
Jockey Anthony Delpech was hard at work on Headstrong fully 600m out, in contrast to her course-and-distance run in a similar contest three weeks ago when she raced on the bit and had a ton in hand when he posed the question.
Headstrong really had to work hard to reel in the leader Swan Neck on this occasion and Delpech said: “She was possibly a bit flat today because I had to push her along early, but she showed her courage again. She has a big heart and this is what won the race for her today. She gives you everything she has.
“I just love this filly and when she has her first foal I hope buyers will be lining up. I think I should ask Mrs Slack (Mary, owner), if she could sign over a share of Headstrong to me!”
Apprentice Tswaro Appie is building up a similar affinity with Storm Crossing, who returned to the sand track in a 1450m Handicap after two disappointing efforts on grass. He recorded his sixth win (fifth on sand), when quickening smartly to put seven lengths between himself and second-placed Alimony.
“It’s quite amazing how much this horse loves the sand track,” said Mike de Kock of Storm Crossing, who competes in the silks of his breeder, Mike Rattray of Lammerskraal Stud.