There is a great story behind Glen Kotzen’s Grade 2 Zulu Kingdom Explorer winner Ameena (Quasillo).
 
The story starts with the Dynasty filly Sabaha, who was owned by Al Khayl Breeders and was trained by Duncan Howells.
 
She won three times and was placed three times in just ten starts.
 
She was then sent to board at Boland stud, where owner Eugene Freeman helped and guided Al Khayl Breeders with their first ever broodmare.
 
She was covered first by Wylie Hall and produced an unplaced horse who only raced once.
 
She was then covered by the Group 3-winning son of Sea The Stars, Quasillo, who is a half-brother to Querari and stands with him at Maine Chance Farms.
 
Al Khayl have a few more mares they are now breeding with.
The Quasillo foal was named Ameena after the daughter of one of the Al Khalyl Breeders members and it means “Blessing”.
 
She was later put on to the Gaby Soma online auction as a weanling.
 
Glen Kotzen went to see her at the farm and liked what he saw, although he was unable to ascertain why she was being sold as a weanling.
 
It creates scepticism when a horse of that age is sold online and so it proved as Kotzen was able to snap her up for a mere R5,000.
 
Later, Jaithern Singh, a first-time owner, bought into a couple of Cape Town-based babies Kotzen trains.
 
Jaithern picked up the game from his Dad, but recently gave up punting. However, as he still had a passion foe horses he decided to experience it “from the other side of the ropes.”
 
As part of the Kotzen yard, he began receiving emails about shares available in other horses.
 
He contacted Glen asking him if he had anything which was ready to run, because the KZN Champions Season was approaching.
 
By that stage Ameena was valued at R150,000 as the half-brother to her dam, Vars Vicky (Var) had come out and won the Grade 2 Senor Santa Stakes.
 
Glen told Jaithern Ameena was running the following week and he could buy a share and she could run in his colours. He told him he could back her too, because he believed she would win first time out.
 
Jaithern recalled, “There was a lot of good talk about her for her debut but I am a naturally pessimistic person and I know racing, so I decided to take a step back and see what happened. I didn’t want to get ahead of myself.”
 
She duly won after being backed in from 4/1 to 10/7. beating the Mike Miller-trained debutant Woodland Retreat by 1,70 lengths.
 
Her next race was in the Grade 3 Strelitzia Stakes over 1100m.
 
Jaithern was playing in the club golf championship that day, so couldn’t watch but she won at odds of 13/2. The excitement of the win apparently effected his golf game, so he lost the lead he had and lost the championship.
 
She ran a below par fifth in the Grade 1 Gold Medallion next time, having been working very well in the build up.
 
Jaithern said, “I took a step back and told myself it would still just be amazing to have a runner on July day anyway.”
 
He brought his whole family to the course on Saturday.
      
Ameena sat in midfield from a draw of seven, but Jaithern was not concerned knowing the turn of foot she possesses.
 
She turned it on in devastating fashion in the straight to win by half-a-length against her old adversary Woodland Retreat.
 
Jaithern said, “It was absolutely amazing, it’s just a dream really.”
 
He says he always leaves everything to the jockey and trainer and is just there for the ride, but admits he goes into his own world during a race. 
 
He added, “It took me a good five minutes to get my breath back without anybody around, but just an amazing feeling, it really is.”
 
Jaithern admitted he had never clapped eyes on Ameena before buying her and concluded, “As Glen famously says a good racehorse finds you.”  
 
Picture: Jaithern Singh (left of horse) and family lead in Ameena (Woodhill Racing Twitter)

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