African Night Sky emulated the feat of the great Pocket Power when winning the Grade 3 Highlands Stud Winter Derby over 2400m at Kenilworth on Saturday and claiming the R250,000 bonus for winning all three legs of the Winter Series.
The Justin Snaith-trained runner had won the Winter Guineas over 1600m and the Winter Classic over 1800m, beating Our Mate Art into second in both races. The question was whether he would see out this 2400m but the manner in which he ran on to get the be er of his opposition in the other races gave one confidence he would easily see it out.
Snaith was concerned his charge had not had enough turf work because of the poor weather but he need not have been concerned.
This time 14-10 favourite African Night Sky, ridden by Bernard Fayd’Herbe, kicked for home early
in the straight and then ran clear of his eld to win as he liked by 5.50 lengths. Paddington, who went o at 30-1 for the Joey Rams- den yard ran second, followed by the Candice Bass-Robinson pair of Ollivander and Our Mate Art.
Ironically African Night Sky was bred by the sponsors Highlands Farms Stud and is owned by Fred Crabbia who will be hoping for a similar performance from It’s My Turn in Saturday’s Vodacom Durban July.
Fayd’Herbe had his mount nearer the rear of the eld but once they turned for home quickly darted to the inside and made up ground hand over st. By the 200m mark he had swept into the lead and it was clear it was just a ma er of how far. “The race worked out very much like I thought it would I was very happy with where I was sitting,” said Fayd’Herbe.
“My horse was travelling so well and breathing so easily that MJ (Byleveld) to me ‘if that doesn’t shit in then it can never win’. Once in the straight I thought I’ve got so much petrol in the tank I’m just going to take my chances and run through them on the inside. He just geared down and won hands and heels. It was a very impressive win.”
Fayd’Herbe had also ridden Pocket Power to victory in the Winter Series and added: “It’s a real privilege to be able to do this again. I did it on a very special horse in Pocket Power and if this horse can be just half as good as that, he will be very good.
The Winter Oaks went the way of 5-2 favourite Whose That Girl from the Bass-Robinson stable, who just got the be er of stable companion Leaves Of Grass.
Tap O’ Noth won the Langerman impressively for trainer Vaughan Marshall, but the disappointment of the day was the poor showing of 14-10 favourite Silver Coin, who cost R6-million.