The decision by Mikede Kock to run Ektifaa against the colts in the Grade 3 Tony RuffelStakes over 1450m proved to be spot on as the filly gamely fought off the attention of 5-2 favourite Matador Man to win by 0.60 lengths.
Ektifaa was entered for both the Tony Ruffel and Three Troikas Stakes for fillies but a good draw probably caused De Kock to take on the colts.
She was the best handicapped runner in any case so she did not win out of turn but was virtually ignored in the betting and went off at 5-1 while stable companion Al Fahad attracted a lot of support and went off second favourite at 33-10. He could only manage fifth place but jockey Randall Simons reported his saddle slipped during the running and the run should be ignored.
Matador Man was probably the unlucky horse as he lost two lengths as they jumped and S’manga Khumalo had to switch his mount out a number of times as he negotiated the traffic.
This is a warm-up race for the Betting World Gauteng Guineas and Wilgerbosdrift Fillies Guineas on 4 March and trainer Sean Tarry will have been quite satisfied with the run. Entries close today for the two races.
The win brought Mike de Kock one closer to his 3,000th victory and he now needs just six more. Tarry also had to settle for second place in the Three Troikas as Visuality looked to have the race in the bag with 100m to go but was shut down in the closing stages by Anna Pavlova.
She had finished second to Ektifaa in October on the course and distance so the form line was there. Roy Magner’s charge went off at 9-1 and beat well-supported Visuality (8-1) by a head with topweight Last Chirp (13-1) running a cracker in third, beaten just one length.
Once again an objection was the order of the day and arose in Race 4 when the stipendiary stewards lodged and objection on behalf of third-placed Flipflash against winner Bay Style on the grounds of intimidation in the closing stages. The objection was overruled and the reasons were explained in the stipes report.
“A race review was called by a member of the Stipendiary Board, which was followed by him lodging an objection on behalf of the third-placed horse, FLIPFLASH (G Lerena), against BAY STYLE (A Fortune) on the grounds of intimidation in the concluding stages. The Objection Board, after giving regard to the evidence put forward by the various parties, as well as viewing the patrol films of the incident from the various angles, was of the opinion that Jockey A Fortune (BAY STYLE) may have struck FLIPFLASH (G Lerena) across the face.
“However, the limited reaction from FLIPFLASH, the evidence put forward by jockey Lerena and trainer Johan Janse van Vuuren and the fact that this incident took place approximately six strides before the finish line, resulted in the Objection Board overruling the objection and allowing the judge’s result to stand.”
Punters must remember the stipes can only uphold an objection if they agree that but for the interference the objecting horse would have won. That was not their conclusion and they had no option but to overrule it.
The stipes often get blamed for not acting but on this occasion one has to say “well done”. They dealt with the issue in a professional and correct manner and need to be applauded.