The diminutive Beach Bomb gets up to beat Silver Sanctuary (Picture: Wayne Marks)
Drakenstein Stud’s 19th individual Gr 1 winner is the Candice Bass-Robinson-trained Beach Bomb.
This homebred’s 0,30 margin of victory in the WSB Cape Fillies Guineas would not have caused any holding of the breath for the peerless stud farm’s proprietors and staff because in second place was another homebred of theirs in the Mike de Kock-trained Silver Sanctuary (Silvano).
There was a yawning three lengths back to the third-placed Glen Kotzen-trained pacemaker, the Gr 2 Western Cape Fillies Championship winner Rascova, and she also had the Drakenstein touch because she, like Beach Bomb, is by their late stallion Lancaster Bomber, who was last season’s champion Freshman sire.
Rascova beat last season’s Equus Champion two-year-old, the Sean Tarry-trained Mrs Geriatrix (Vercingetorix), by a shorthead and the latter was a shorthead ahead of the Harold Crawford and Michelle Rix-trained Secret Identity (Canford Cliffs), who was surprisingly long odds of 100/1 considering the class and good turn of foot she had shown in the KZN Champions Season.
Beach Bomb drifted out alarmingly before the off from 8/1 to 14/1 as a flood of money came for Mrs Geriatrix who shortened from 6/1 to 9/4.
Silver Sanctuary and Rascova were both 8/1 shots.
Beach Bomb was led in after the race by Drakenstein Stud’s racing manager Kevin Sommerville, stud manager Gavin Pickford and stud secretary Kira Pickford, along with trainer Candice Bass-Robinson, in the absence of stud farm owner Gaynor Rupert.
Rupert has converted this farm in the space of just less than twenty years of existence in to the stud operation that sets the standard in South Africa.
Saturday’s Gr 1 exacta saw them rising to within R160,000 of the top of this season’s standings, which is led by Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein Stud.
Drakenstein are once again well clear in the stakes winners table. Having also bred Saturday’s Gr 2 WSB Green Point Stakes winner See It Again, they now have nine individual stakes winners this season (of nine races).
They are thus well on their way to breaking their own record (which they increased from 18 in 2021/2022 to 20 last season) for a second season in succession.
What apppears to separate them from the rest at a glance is not only the purchase of fine stallions and use of the best outside stallions, but also an apparent policy of breeding with stakes-winning mares or with mares from prevalent black tpe familes, whether they originate from South Africa or from overseas.
Beach Bomb provides a fine example.
Drakenstein must have gone to big numbers to purchase her mother, the five-times Gr 1-winning darling of the SA turf, Beach Beauty, who is by the Horse Of The Year and top stallion Dynasty.
It has paid dividends because three of Beach Beauty’s five runners to date are now Graded winners, another one of them is Graded-placed multiple times, and the other one has won a Non-Black type event so far.
Another example of Drakenstein’s carefully selected breeding stock is provided by See It Again’s dam Supreme Vision. She is a half-sister to the celebrated dual July winner Do It Again and Drakenstein not only purchased her when the latter was in his prime, but then also sent her to Do It Again’s sire, Twice Over. The progeny See It Again was thus a three-parts brother to Do It Again and looks to be every bit as good as him.
Going back to Beach Bomb, the amazing thing about her is how small she is and yet that has not stopped her from inheriting Beach Beauty’s electric burst of speed.
Beach Beauty was often described as “tiny” but Beach Bomb is positively diminutive to the extent that the jockey’s chin ends up almost between the horse’s ears when her head is back and he begins driving forward.
She turned for home one from last in a strung out field of 13 on Saturday and looked to have an impossible task.
A place looked likely at the 200m mark as she was running on well.
Her resolute finish then took her past pacemaker Rascova and suddenly victory was possible.
In a fashion that was typical of Beach Beauty, she then found extra when it counted to get the better of the long-striding Silver Sanctuary, who had stayed on strongly from midfield.
Both the winner and runner up should enjoy the 1800m trip of the Gr 1 Cartier Paddock Stakes.
Rascova has learnt to settle this season, but dictated at a more suitable pace over 1400m in her previous start.
She went a touch too fast on Saturday and found no extra in the closing stages.
Richard Fourie on Mrs Geriatrix possibly made a mistake in restrospect of not following Beach Bomb through a gap, instead switching around the outside horse.
Mrs Geriatrix might otherwise have got third place.
She might also enjoy the Paddock Stakes considering she came from last and was doing her best work late.
Secret Identity stayed on well considering she came from a handy position behind a good pace.
Karel Miedema of raceform was not overly impressed with this race and only awarded 97 Ability Ratings to both Beach Bomb and Silver Sanctuary.
However, this is in fact higher than the 96 AR he awarded Make It Snappy after last year’s renewal and the latter, of course, went on to win the Paddock Stakes, where she achieved a 101 AR.