AFRICA Rising would have given the supporters of his Legal Eagle some confidence going into next week’s Gr2 Green Point Stakes after he whipped a good field of sprinters in Saturday’s Gr2 Merchants over 1200m at Turffontein.
While Africa Rising had a few excuses when beaten almost five lengths by his illustrious stablemate in a 1160m dash on 15 November the form, at face value, suggests that the seven-year-old Legal Eagle will be going into next week’s much talked-about clash with Rainbow Bridge and Undercover Agent in fighting condition.
As for the five-year-old Africa Rising: Sensibly raced, he has been a good servant to the Sean Tarry stable, who was firing on all cylinders on Cup Day and claimed four of the first six races on the card.
Africa Rising has won seven of only 19 starts, including a well-paid second in the Ready To Run Stakes of his year and a win in the Gr2 Beyerley Turk at Greyville, a day he defeated Copper Force under Lyle Hewitson.
Hewitson has been back holding his reins recently and he was elated, saying that Africa Rising holds a special place in his heart.
“He’s not the best horse I’ve ridden, but he’s very close to me, super special,” Hewitson said. “I wish this was a Grade 1 race because he deserves it. His asset is his turn of foot, he has an explosive finish and he showed it today. He is a smart individual, a professional through and through.”
Hewitson reflected on Africa Rising’s run to Legal Eagle and said: “He has a few niggles one has to get on top of. He blew it at the start last time and raced alone on the inside. He’s still a bit iffy in the pens, but he has a beautiful demeanour and things worked out for him today.
“It’s great to be a part of a team like this, one’s luck doesn’t run out!”
Bred by the formidable Summerhill Stud, Africa Rising is a son of Visionaire and Sucha Looka, by Braashee. He has earned owners Chris van Niekerk and Phito Anasstasopolous of Supabets fame R1,45-million in prize money.
Photo: JC Photos.