THERE are few more exciting things in racing than seeing a horse knuckle down to do his job with challengers coming at him from all sides.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum’s four-year-old gelding Mootahadee (AUS) was a super-fit runner going into a MR90 Handicap over 1400m at Turffontein on Saturday. Jockey Gavin Lerena, captaining the South African jockeys against a squad of internationals, made it count.
Gavin Lerena and Mootahadee gave their rivals a knockout punch.
Lerena pushed Mootahadee into top gear at precisely the right time – the son of Redoute’s Choice got away two lengths with 300m to run and then stuck to his lead in gritty fashion – fending off his rivals like a seasoned WWF wrestler surrounded by several others throwing muscles at him in the ring.
Mootahadee won by just under a length – his first win on turf – and the stable will be pleased that the handful of Vaal sand specialists brought to the green so far have all converted successfully.
There have been a dozen or so more runners from other stables who have done the same recently – undoubtedly a big relief for “sand” trainers who have already been to the Wailing Wall and back worrying where their winners will be coming from henceforth.
Perhaps the move away from the sand track will prove to be a pleasurable and beneficial experience for all, after all. If you can train winners on sand you can train them on turf too, not? Even runners predominantly bred for dirt can perform well on turf when they’re in the mood, or perhaps placed in the right handicaps.
In racing, nobody ever stops learning and horses make fools of men, day in and day out. All should embrace the move away from the dusty graveyard and bring their runners in numbers to compete on turf and poly.
Hi Hoh, Silver!