THERE was a minor pre-race debate about the pronunciation of owner Johnny Gerber’s filly Bize (“Beez” or “Bee-Zay”?), and it served to bring her to the attention of some late backers in an open Listed Oaks Trial at Turffontein.
Bize (7-1), ridden by apprentice Kabelo Matsunyane, raced wide and near the back, showed signs of inexperience but still won the race in good style, going away from Seville Orange and Pretty Border.
“For the record, her name is pronounced “Beez”, and she was named after a cold wind which blows in the south of France,” said Colin Gordon, CEO of Moutonshoek, who bred the filly by Mambo In Seattle from Leventera, a word meaning “wind resistance”.
Bize blew through her field quite easily and that she won a Listed race in only her second career start has secured her future as a broodmare of some value at stud.
Gordon added, however, that punters should treat the form of the Oaks with some circumspection. “Bize doesn’t show a lot in work and she surprised our trainer Alec Laird and us when she won first time out at 40-1. She also received chunks of weight yesterday and there are fillies who should turn the form around easily. What a pleasure though, perhaps she is one of those racers that reserves her best for the track and keeps improving!”
Bize was one of the runners retained by Johnny Gerber when his brother Chris died so sadly and unexpectedly last year and Gordon said: “Chris and Johnny bought Bize’s dam from a larger group of original partners and hence the filly was kept for sentimental reasons along with a few others. Johnny has nine in training with Alec, formerly owned in partnership with Chris.”
Chris Gerber and company enjoyed racing in a private suite on the Turffontein grandstand’s upper level and Gordon told. “We gave up the box after Chris passed away, it won’t ever be the same. But on Saturday we had lunch and raced in the Elevation Room, which was a lot of fun. Some people came up to us and joked that the room needed the extra atmosphere, they haven’t had a bunch as loud as us there in a while!”