MARY Slack and the team at Wilgerbosdrift Stud would have been pleased with three-year-old Tiger Ridge gelding The Raj’s effortless win a MR90 handicap over 1600m on sand at the Vaal on Tuesday, not only because the young horse took a step up in class to beat a few hard-knocking older horses; more so because the victory was recorded over a mile.
Tiger Ridge’s first South African crop produced predominantly sprinters including talented Kavanagh, the super-fast colt who has made a habit of “getting run out of it” over 1600m.
As his sire’s first son in the local limelight, Kavanagh’s inability to crack it over a mile in three attempts has had a few wisecracks reflecting on Tiger Ridge as a “sprint stallion”, despite Mike de Kock’s confidence that he will come into his own with more maturity in 2011 and probably pick up a well deserved big 1600m win.
Mary will agree that Tiger Ridge can do with a few more prominent middle-distance performers – he proved himself time and again in the US with Group and Listed winners up to 1800m, but the small South African racing and breeding communities are prone to prematurely “categorize” new kids on the block. Leading freshman sire or not – in SA memories are short and Wilgerbosdrift would want Tiger Ridge to put some recognized milers on the board, sooner rather than later.
Interestingly The Raj is bred from an Al Mufti mare (Roberto/Hail To Reason); Tiger Ridge’s Group 2 winning miler-stayer Leah’s Secret (Sunshine Millions Distaff), is from a mare by Capote (Seattle Slew), with Hail To Reason not too far removed in the damsire’s female line.
Another interesting bit of trivia is that Therecomesatiger, third to Miesque’s Approval in the Group 2 Firecracker Breeders Cup Handicap over 1600m and one of Tiger Ridge’s early US eye-catchers, and his early Listed winner GP’s Black Knight were bred from US mares sired by two of SA’s most famous half-brothers, Wolf Power and Artistry (x Pandora).
The Raj, meanwhile, looks like he will be effective up to 1800m, maybe even further. Jockey Derreck David, standing in for Anthony Delpech, enjoyed an armchair ride. There was no better way to score on a rare mount for the De Kock stable.
Lammerskraal Stud, enjoying a super season, had another Vaal sand winner courtesy of Storm Crossing, the son of Western Winter who loves the surface and posted a 1200m win under his favourite rider, apprentice Tshwaro Appie.