Mike Moon
Horse racing correspondent
2 minute read
27 Dec 2021
9:53 am

Lebelo Sprint to show us the mettle of the pasture

Mike Moon

A firm favourite, Ashley Fortune-trained Bard Of Avon is in good form, having won over course and distance just 18 days ago.

Ashley Fortune, right, with Bard of Avon are expected to clinch a win at Turffontein on Monday. Picture: Darren Stewart/Gallo Images

William Shakespeare wrote the most stirring speech in all literature for Henry V, as the English king urged on his troops at the Battle of Agincourt:

“… show us here

The mettle of your pasture; let us swear

That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;

For there is none of you so mean and base,

That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.

I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,

Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:

Follow your spirit, and upon this charge…”

It might be a stretch to apply these words to runners in the Lebelo Sprint, a Grade 3 race at Turffontein on Monday. But what the heck, it’s silly season.

The truth is, the 1000m dash is a wildly competitive affair, with every one of the 14 runners in with a chance of winning. Horses and connections will be feeling the emotions so powerfully expressed in the words of the Bard.

There’s the Shakespearean connection: one of the favourites in the Lebelo is Ashley Fortune-trained Bard Of Avon. The son of Var (from the mare Shakespeare’s Ros by Dynasty) is in good form, having won over course and distance just 18 days ago.

His main opposition will be Corrie Lensley-trained Alesian Chief, the popular recent winner of both the Golden Loom and the Gauteng Merchants.

Bold Ransom and Sheela are just some of the other crack sprinters who will be “straining upon the start” with “noble lustre” in their eyes.


1: 4 Sing Girl Sing, Maria’s World, 1 Wonderful Rock, 3 Miss Otis

2: 1 Flying Carpet, 3 Infinite Wonder, 5 La Luvia, 6 Ballet Shoes

3: 5 Insatiable, 1 Quick Run, 3 Time Silhouette, 6 Iphiko

4: 7 Chase Your Dreams, 9 Forever Free, 1 Bevoeterd, 8 Dronfield

5: 6 Red Saxon, 3 Captain Lannister, 5 Lemon Delight, 1 Goodtime Guy

6: 2 Mike’s Chick, 7 Sister Light, 5 Hollywoodbound, 4 River Doon

7: 14 Bard Of Avon, 8 Alesian Chief, 6 Bold Ransom, 13 Sheela

8: 2 Motor City Hitman, 10 Southern Blaze, 1 Abayyan, 4 Earl Of Cardigan

Pick 6: 1,5 x 1,7,9 x 3,5,6 x 2,4,5,7 x 1,5,6,8,9,10,13,14 x 1,2,10 (R1728)

PA: 1 x 5 x 7,9 x 3,5,6 x 2,5,7 x 6,8,14 x 2,10 (R108)