WHETHER you’re on her side of the fence or over there on the other side, three-year-old Majmu will have the eyes of the entire racing nation fixed on her racetrack return in the Gr2 Joburg Spring Fillies and Mares Challenge over 1450m at Turffontein on Saturday.
Majmu will never know it, but all hell broke loose in the racing faternity when she was awarded the Equus trophy for Champion Two-Year-Old Filly last August. While her many staunch supporters would have considered the industry’s highest recognition a mere formality for South Africa’s highest-ever rated thoroughbred in this category, a number of form experts, bloodstock agents and influential racing personalities disagreed in the strongest terms with the Equus panel’s decision.
Their vociferous revolt centered mainly around the fact that despite being unbeaten in three starts Majmu, with only a Gr2 success to her name, had been favoured over the four smart Gr1 winners in her group. If the best performances at the highest level is an absolute for the crowning of one generation’s leader, Majmu’s scooping of the vote, in racing’s academic theory, would border on the bizarre.
Look at Majmu. That’s her yes, a pretty woolly baby at her mother’s side in a paddock at Arrowfield Stud in Australia. What a beautiful yearling she grew into so soon after that. Later, she pricks ears on her proud head and gallops away. Don’t get nasty with her now!
Majmu won’t be aware of the things said about her when she canters down to the start for her first attempt beyond 1160m, but at the commencement of what has now become an unavoidable quest to prove her superiority, she has a mountain to climb. In theory, of course.
This will be Majmu’s first run around the bend, her first encounter with a formidable field of older rivals including a Gr1 heroine and two Gr2 winners – her first outing after illness and a five-month rest to boot.
The nature of the biased racing beast allows for members of Majmu’s supporters club to preach confidently and to whomever would listen about how our racer may well possess the rare x-factor, the inborn gene that separates superstars from champions; that she started her career with a Listed win, followed swiftly by a Gr3 and then a Gr2 triumph, that she strides with seemingly indestructible purpose, yet simultaneously never seems to break out of a lazy canter; that a Gr1 win is simply the next in Majmu’s natural and progressive sequence of success and that it will happen as surely as the sun rises in the East!
However, this kind of feverish speculation will place the Majmu band in danger of lowering themselves to the level of one member of the opposite side who is reported to have squealed in self-righteous rage to the dismay of the other guests at an Equus Banquet table when Mike de Kock walked on stage to accept the award for Sheikh Hamdan’s sensational grey.
All nastiness aside. In racing, everyone has the right to express their unique views, supported by mainstream theory or sucked from a selfish thumb. Majmu may not rise to the occasion at Turffontein today. She may not progress to the heights expected of her and may have her colours decisively lowered this season, which will prove “the other side” to be one hundred percent right in their assessments of the scenario.
So let’s simply make our own, private judgement calls based on what we know, at this hour. Mathew de Kock said at 9pm on Friday night: “Majmu will improve with this run, she will have more to offer as the next number of weeks go by and she comes to her peak. But that said she has duly impressed us in her work recently, she is very well and we’re expecting her to be competitive, even after a rest and in a field of this calibre.”
Whatever happens, do keep in mind that pretty Majmu is just flesh and blood, don’t hold anything against her or let your personal views cloud your opinion of this freakishly talented thoroughbred specimen. Look at her photos above and just let go, enjoy and appreciate her superior class.
Oh, dear, oh, dear, it’s hard to stay calm and neutral in this fascinating sport of horseracing. Bring on the Spring Challenge. And then some!