The V Kritzinger-bred Pathfork gelding Chollima came from near the back and burst out of the pack impressively in yesterday’s Listed WSB East Cape Derby over 2400m at Fairview to win by 1,25 lengths under Corne Orffer.
The Hollywoodbets Durban July entry went clear after his scything run and the late challengers, although closing, were unable to catch him.
The Gavin Smith-trained Peace In Our World and the Justin Snaith-trained Top Quality were second and third respectively.
It was only a second career victory for Chollima but he has always competed in good company and was coming off a 1,90 length third in the Grade 3 WSB Variety Club Mile.
The manner of his win today suggests he can rise above an 89 merit rating.
Kotzen’s words at the beginning of April about Chollima have turned out to be prophetic. He said back then, “We should have gelded him earlier. He ran 0,40 lengths back last time over 2000m carrying 61.5kg in his second run after gelding. He will stay in Cape Town for the second leg of the Winter Challenge and if he recaptures the form he had as a two-year-old he could get into the July at the bottom of the weights.”
Gavin Smith won the supporting feature, the Listed WSB Dahlia Plate over 1200m for two-year-olds with Ekoria (Futura), who was ridden by JP van der Merwe.
Smith had four winners at the meeting whilst his nearest rival in the race for the East Cape Trainers title, Alan Greeff, scored a double.
Smith increased his season’s tally to 108 winners, Greeff is on 96 and third-placed Zietsman Oosthuizen is on 45.
Greg Cheyne scored a double at the meeting and is well clear in the East Cape Jockeys Championship.
He has now ridden 69 winners in that region this season.
Warren Kennedy is second on 47 and Richard Fourie third on 45.
Meanwhile, Kaidan Brewer rode a winner for Smith and is making steady inroads into the lead of Rachel Venniker in the national apprentice championships and is now only seven behind.
Picture: Chollima wins the Listed WSB East Cape Derby (Chase Liebenberg).