JAMES Armitage of Sandown Stud and Claudia Coetzee of Big Sky Ranch would have been delighted with two-year-old Gabor’s victory in Saturday’s Gr1 Thekwini Stakes over 1600m at Greyville. They will be sending a colt apiece by Gabor’s sire Kingsbarns to the National Two-Year-Old Sale next month and, with the deceased stallion’s progeny already in demand they will be counting the days to 15 August.
Drakenstein stood Kingsbarns, a son of Galileo, before his untimely death of colic in May 2018, and his daughter Gabor was entrusted to Summerveld trainer Gavin van Zyl, who couldn’t have asked for a better 60th birthday present.
In another milestone, this was a first Gr1 winner for in-form jockey Warren Kennedy, a top-notch rider one would have expected to be on the major honours roll sooner than this.
Kennedy delivered Gabor with a powerful challenge from close to the pace. She ran down Mill Queen, who gave some cheek and Snow Palace, who caught they eye running on late for third.
Van Zyl, who won the Thekwini several years ago with Along Came Polly, smiled from ear to ear in an interview with Paul Lafferty and said: “I’m the youngest 60-year-old on course today. Well done to Gaynor Rupert and the Drakenstein team. Kingsbarns was a big loss to breeding but he will leave his mark in South Africa.”
Kennedy said: “Gabor was unlucky last time, beaten by her draw (in the Gr2 Golden Slipper), but I said to Mr Van Zyl if she gets a draw they won’t smell her this time.
“She took a bit longer to get going than I thought she would, but when I pulled the stick she got down to business. I think she will go places.”
Gabor, two wins from three runs, has racked up in the shade of R500,000 in her short career.