JOURNEYMAN (photo) made a cracking winning debut in a Maiden Juvenile Plate over 1160m at Turffontein on Friday night, running on strongly to score by 3.75-lengths.
A R900,000 purchase at the 2012 Emperors National Yearling Sale, the colt by Trippi showed some class over a trip considered possibly too sharp on his first visit to the racecourse.
Under some pressure halfway down the straight, jockey Anthony Delpech kept punching away at his mount, who slipped into gear with 200m to run and made it look easy as he made up ground and left his young rivals standing.
“He’s a big horse with a lovely action. His quality came through tonight,” said Delpech, who was the first jock to pull the stick and for a moment or two must have thought he’d be lucky to run into the places.
Mike de Kock was also impressed with the way Journeyman stretched out when he found his rhythm. “We haven’t trialled him at home and we didn’t expect him to win, but this was a good win nonetheless. He looks like a natural athlete, a quality horse. Jehan Malherbe and I liked him at the National Sale last year and bought him for Mary Slack. Well done to her, she got quite a few at that sale.”
Disappointments followed for the De Kock-Slack team when Ilha Bela was checked at the 400m mark in the Laurie Jaffee Empress Club Stakes, spoiling her chance of winning. Following that Welwitschia lost just too much ground at the start of a Pinnacle Stakes over 1000m and her chasing to get into touch took its toll as she couldn’t produce her strongest finish late in the race.
Both Ilha Bela and Welwitschia should be watched in their next starts – with better luck they could both make amends, probably at better odds for punters too.