Corrie Lensley spoke to Turf Talk on Hollywoodbets Durban July day and revealed his Grade 1 Golden Horse winner Alesian Chief will be coming back down on Marshall World Of Sprts Gold Cup day to run in the Grade 1 Mercury Sprint, provided he lands a good draw.
He will also be bringing his promising two-year-old Now I Got You (Admiral Kitten) to run in the Grade 1 Premier’s Champions Stakes over 1600m.
He said, “If he (Alesian Chief) is drawn anything outside of six or seven, we won’t bring him. The way he races if he is drawn out wide he will burn himself out to get to the front. He is just a bull when he jumps out of the gates, he wants to break all the china in the shop!”
The three-year-old Vercingetorix colt proved himself up to weight for age class when winning the Golden Horse with 58.5kg off a 119 merit rating.
He is now merit rated 123, which is just two points lower than the three joint-highest rated sprinters in the country Rio Querari, Master Archie and Bohica.
Lensley’s Now I Got You led the Grade 1 Gold Medallion over 1200m before being swamped and then amazingly fighting back for second place.
He then came out and finished second in the BSA Sales Cup for colts and gelding over 1300m on Hollywoodbets Durban July day.
He said, “He’s still learning the game. He’s still a big baby. But he is an absolutely beautiful horse. We will come back fighting with him. You will hear a lot more about this horse. He will be a maiden until he wins a Graded race! Muzi got off and said he will definitely take them on over 1600m. He wasn’t overly tired when he got back. He was still full of himself and not blowing a lot. If you go and look at the times, the times are a bit slower than the fillies race and I think it just caught him out a bit that they went a bit slower than they normally go. But that’s racing.”
Now I Got You runs in the same colours as the great J J The Jet Plane as his chief owner is Coenie Strydom.
Coenie owns him in partnership with PJ and BA Victor.
Now I Got You is one of four “very decent horses” Coenie and his partners have bought for the Lensley yard.
Corrie said, “I was introduced to the owners, it is the first time they have had horses with me, and we are now like one big happy family!”
Things didn’t look to good for Corrie one year after Flamingo Park’s closure as he had moved to Cape Town and it was tough to compete with his relatively cheaply bought string in a centre which has the highest class of horse in the country.
However, he said, “My wife Emmie always reminds me that if we had not gone to Cape Town we would not have Alesian Chief.”
Corrie secured Alesian Chief for a mere R50,000 when visiting Ambiance Stud thanks to owner Peet Boonzaaier giving him the go ahead over the phone.
Corrie later relocated to the Vaal and his first runner was Alesian Chief on March 3, 2021. He then ran second and less than two months after his debut gave Corrie his first Highveld winner.
Corrie said, “He was my kick off in Jo’burg and since he’s been running everything has just been snowballing slowly, slowly and you know what I am feeling good at the moment. I was down for a while before we came back to the Vaal but I am now feeling positive about racing and positive about myself and my horses.”
In fact at Hollwoodbets Greyville on Saturday, he was approached by an owner and he is going to be sent another two horses.
Corrie has always been a respected trainer and remembers once when he was training out of Bloemfontein bringing nine horses down to Durban and getting five seconds.
There was also the famous occasion when he took a Kimberley maiden to run in the Grade 2 SA Fillies Nursery at Turffontein and this filly, King’s Temptress, upset the big guns to win at odds of 150/1.
However, he said, “These kinds of races (July day features) I call them pressure races and even although I am 58 years old for me it a learning curve. I have to learn how to work with it and how to keep my self calm and keep all the horses around me calm. So I can be proud of it (his recent success in big races).”
He added, “But the positivity comes out when you win races. As soon as you don’t win races, you start doubting yourself. As soon as you start winning you feel you can compete. But you need the horses. Every trainer needs good horses. Anybody can get a horse fit, but good horses win big races.”
Corrie is one of the lucky one who got a Vercingetorix early.
He said, “The guys who have got Vercingetorix’s in the next two or three years they’re going to think it’s raining porridge. They are going to make money. I actually had a filly by him in Cape Town, she was very nice bit she was just small, and there you could see already he was throwing very nice horses.”
Corrie has 45 horses now having earlier set a limit at 40.
He said, “If they come and are good enough horses we will go up to 50. My wife Emmie works full time for me now. She’s not in the medical profession anymore. We relate to each other well. It is not like the normal assistant being civil, she can shout back at me if I make mistakes!”