RAFEEF (AUS) was considered good enough to make his debut in the Gr1 SA Nursery last April – he was green first up and beaten eight lengths. He returned to the track in a Maiden Plate over 1200m at The Vaal, Thursday, and confirmed his potential winning as favourite after a layoff, though he had to share the spoils with 20-1 shot, Hidden Agenda.
Rafeef (nearest camera), shared his win with Hidden Agenda. (JC Photos).
Rafeef (Callan Murray) fought an exciting battle with Scott Kenny’s runner, ridden by Gunther Wrogemann, and the judge couldn’t separate the pair.
Mike de Kock said: “Rafeef is a smart sort by Redoute’s Choice and he will make massive improvement from this run, he was naturally in need of it after his long break. He’s a horse to follow, I think Scott also rates his young horse as a decent sort so there was merit in the dead-heat.”
Kenny confirmed this and told mikedekockracing.com: “Yes, Hidden Agenda is a promising sort. He worked in the company of (top sprinter) Lazer Star when he was younger and I had the filly in my yard. We backed Hidden Agenda to win first time out, but he pulled up with a respiratory infection.”
Fareeq wins after a rest for jockey Chase Maujean.
That spells good things to come for Rafeef, whose owner Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum also won Race 8 over 1400m with Fareeq (AUS) (Chase Maujean up), another who’d come off a rest. “Fareeq is another horse that bears watching. He is capable of winning at a higher level,” Mike said of the three-year-old gelding by Nadeem.
The “jam” in the sandwich was Nother Russia (Craig Zackey), a three-year-old filly by Tiger Ridge and superstar Mother Russia, who broke her Maiden at her third attempt, coasting home by 5.40-lengths over the straight mile.
“Nother Russia is an up-and-coming filly. She is temperamental, her mother was too, so she travels to the races in her own float and Malan du Toit (equine therapist) has worked with her. Well done to Jessica Slack, we’re hoping she can have a lot of fun with this one.”
Mike praised assistant trainer John Buckler for keeping the pot boiling in his absence and said: “John is doing a good job, well done to him, Clayton Matthee and the team back home.”
Nother Russia won so well, Vlad Putin might have taken note!