WHEN thoroughbreds like Majmu arrive on the scene and their careers begin to take shape, racing critics invariably find themselves tempted to bring a range of superlatives to the party.
Reflecting on Saturday’s Gr3 Starling Stakes over 1400m at Turffontein’s standside track, Mike de Kock cautioned, however, that Majmu will have to win a Gr1 race before anyone could give her star status.
“Majmu’s very good, the signs are there, but she’ll need to beat the best of her generation at Gr1 level before we can really get excited,” he said on Sunday.
Majmu: Expected to bring the best of times to South African racing!
Perhaps we won’t have to wait too long. The grey galloper is being aimed at the Gr 1 Avontuur Estate Cape Fillies Guineas at Kenilworth on 6 December – we’ll save a few roaring adjectives for now, but we expect to put them in use in roughly three weeks.
In this review then, we’ll post some comparative times for the course and distance of the Starling Stakes and leave it to you consider the merits of what they appear to show.
Majmu (58kg) clocked a sensational 82,90s in winning the race and while recorded times can be misleading and are sometimes tailored to support biased opinion, racing’s form experts have few more reliable yardsticks by which to measure the ability of a racehorse. To start, Majmu’s time was almost 1s faster than the time clocked by Equus Champion Juvenile Colt Harry’s Son in the Gr3 Graham Beck Stakes run just half an hour later.
Since the turn of the millennium only a small number of races were programmed over 1400m on Turffontein’s standside circuit . While a significant proportion of them were contested by the leading lights of their respective generations, none have managed to better the course record 81,4s set by former November Handicap winner Fov’s Fancy back in 1998. (The superstar Jet Master came closest, winning the 2000 Gr2 Hawaii Stakes in 82,11s).
Not even the mighty search engine Google is powerful enough to extract all the bits of necessary information from the limited sources of accessible historical statistical data that exist for South African racing online.
Nonetheless, we’ve found enough to support our prediction that Majmu is a rare talent likely to go all the way to the top in this country and that her global potential will unfold within the next few months.
To draw arguably reasonable comparisons between Majmu and a number of top runners from years gone by, we’ve looked all the way back to 2000, noting the results of the handful of feature races, higher division handicaps and relevant others staged between October and December, with official race times recorded.
Here are the findings:
Results for Turffontein Standside Track, 1400m, ordered in year,date, track condition, type of race, winner (sex and age) and time recorded:
Compared to MAJMU, 1 November 2014, 3-y-o filly, track condition good, Gr3 Starling Stakes: 82,90s
23 November, Track Good: Allowance Plate: SURVEYOR, 3-y- o colt: 85,70s
29 November, Track Good: MR94 Handicap: TOREADOR, 4-y-o colt 85.24s
*2nd horse was Alastor
27 November, Track Good: Advance Plate: JAMAICA, 5-y-o mare: 84,85s
3 December, Track Good: Allowance Plate: FORT BELUGA, 3-y-o colt: 83,72s
25 November, Track Good: MR99 Handicap, SERENGETTI SUNRISE, 5-y-old gelding: 85,85s
13 October, Track Good: Listed Renounce Stakes, SOFT LANDING, 4-y-o filly: 85,39s
13 October, Track Good: Listed Hyperion Handicap, BIARRITZ, 4-y-old gelding: 84,69s
1 November, Track Good: Listed Starling Stakes, KIRIBATI, 3-y-o filly, 86,18s
1 November, Track Good: Gr3 Graham Beck Stakes, CERISE CHERRY, 3-y-old colt, 84,94s
1 November, Track Good, Ready To Run Cup, SMANGALISO, 3-y-old filly, 85,94s
9 November, Track Slightly Soft, Pinnacle Plate, OUR GIANT, 4-y-old gelding, 85,73s
23 November, Track Good, Graduation Plate, ZIRCONEUM, 3-y-old filly, 85,56s
7 November, Track Slightly Soft, Listed Starling Stakes, SIDERA, 3-y-old filly, 86,43s
7 November, Track Slightly Soft, Ready To Run Cup, PIERRE JOURDAN, 3-y-old colt, 85,69s
7 November, Track Slightly Soft, Gr 3 Graham Beck Stakes, BULSARA, 3-y-old colt, 85,75s
6 November, Track Good, Gr3 Starling Stakes, SUCCESS COUNTS, 3-y-old filly, 85,17s
*2nd horse was Happy Archer
6 November, Track Good, Ready To Run Cup, HOLLYWOODBOULEVARD, 3-y-old filly, 85,47s
*2nd horse was Igugu
6 November, Track Good, Gr 3 Graham Beck Stakes, KAVANAGH, 3-y-old colt, 85,23s
*5th horse was Shea Shea
*6th horse was The Apache
5 November, Track Good, Gr3 Starling Stakes, KATY’S LANE, 3-y-old filly, 84,96s
5 November, Track Good, Ready To Run Cup, RED BARREL, 3-y-old colt, 84,69s
5 November, Track Good, Gr 3 Graham Beck Stakes, ASTRO NEWS, 3-y-old colt, 84,24s
26 November, Track Good, Maiden Plate, HEAVY METAL, 3-y-old colt, 86,44s
3 November, Track Good, Gr3 Starling Stakes, FESTIVAL OF FIRE, 3-y-o filly, 84,83s
*2nd horse was Blueridge Mountain
3 November, Track Good, Ready To Run Cup, ROCK OF ARTS, 3-y-old colt 85,42s
3 November, Track Good, Gr 3 Graham Beck Stakes, FRANCOIS BERNARDUS, 3-y-old colt, 84,07s
20 November, Track Good, Graduation Plate, RUMYA, 3-y-old filly 84,67s
2 November, Track Good, Gr3 Starling Stakes, SARASOTA, 3-y-old filly, 84,26s
*8th horse was Athina
2 November, Track Good, Ready To Run Cup, WINTER STAR, 3-y-old filly, 84,71,s
2 November, Track Good, Gr 3 Graham Beck Stakes, WHISTLE STOP, 3-y-o colt, 83,29s
1 November, Track Good, Ready To Run Cup, RICH GIRL, 3-y-old filly, 84,75s
1 November, Track Good, Gr 3 Graham Beck Stakes, HARRY’S SON, 3-y-o colt, 83,79s
Other notably superior runners who won over 1400m on standside track, Turffontein (January – December, 2000-2013, tracks conditions “Good” for all):
20 February 2000: Jet Master, 82,11s
28 April 2001: Glamour Boy, 83,64s
22 December 2001: Hinterland, 84,64s
27 March 2003: Nhlavini, 84,70s
4 March 2006: Overarching, 84,49s
31 July 2010: Shea Shea, 86,38s
11 November 2011: Europa Point, 84,23s
3 March 2007: Elusive Fort: 83,91s
25 February 2012: Dancewiththedevil, 85,17s
13 October 2013: Cherry On The Top, 83,81s
NOTE: Research based on data found on tabonline.co.za, tabgold.co.za, sportingpost.co.za, racingpost.com. Please mail us if you find any notable statistics to add. We couldn’t find times set by erstwhile legends like Sledgehammer and Wolf Power, who both contested Turrffontein’s 1400m on the outside track. Please send on if you do have access to this. – Editor.
Watch Majmu’s Starling Stakes victory here. (Racing Association)