Royal Guide cruises in under Gavin Lerena (Picture: Candiese Lenferna).
Alec Laird traveled to Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday for a race he had won before, the Listed Off To Stud Stakes, and his consistent Vercingetorix filly Queen Of Shadows finished a gallant half-a-length third.
However, the purists would have been more interested in his Ascot Stud-bred four-year-old Gimmethegreenlight colt Royal Guide, who had been showing a lot of promise.
It is always impressive when a horse is caught without cover in a race and still wins, because it means the horse either has a good racing temperament or a big engine or both.
To be fair Royal Guide was only caught wide on the turn in today’s MR 84 Handicap over 1600m, but he was nevertheless without cover and one wide and it did not stop him finishing his race off.
Gavin Lerena drove him for the first half of the straight and he then took off to win easing up by 3,40 lengths.
The four-year-old colt only made his debut in April this year.
He placed in his first two starts and has won three of his next four over distances from 1600m to 1700m.
His only defeat in his last four starts is to the R7 million Celestial City, who also won at Hollywoodbets Scottsville today.
However, Alec, speaking before his previous win at the Vaal, felt Royal Guide had excuses for that defeat.
Royal Guide is well bred being by champion stallion Gimmethegreenlight out of Al Mufti Gr 1 Thekwini winner Royal Fantasy, who has produced two black type winners.
Jehan Malherbe’s Form Bloodstock purchased him for R1,4 million at the BSA National Yearling Sale and it is not surprising that one of the colt’s owners is Mauritzfontein Stud because he is from the family of their Wilgerbosdrift Triple Tiara heroines Summer Pudding and Cherry On The Top.
Ashley Parker of Ascot Stud also has a share and so do Malherbe and Laird.
There is a long way to go for Royal Guide to make it to the stallion barn, but he is on the right track.
In today’s winning interview Alec confirmed Royal Guide is getting better all the time and he gave a hint of the aspirations for the horse by saying, “On his pedigree he should certainly get 1800m, we will have to look at 2000m where the big races are.”