THE winners of Bloodstock South Africa’s pair of R1 million races for three-year-olds at Scottsville on Sunday were both sired by Champion Freshman stallion Gimmethegreenlight, and both were raised at Varsfontein Stud.
Dennis Drier’s colt Hack Green remained unbeaten with a workmanlike win over Green Pepper (incidentally also Varsfontein-bred) in the BSA Million Sprint over 1200m, while Legend landed the healthy prize for Duncan Howells and partners in the BSA Million Mile.
Drier, on record as saying that his stable may have “a bit of a star” on its hands in the imposing Hack Green, would have held his breath all the way to the line in the face of a determined and arguably unexpected challenge from Highveld raider Green Pepper, who gave her all under in-form jockey Randall Simons and was a winner one stride past the line.
It appeared that Sean Veale, on Hack Green (11-20 favourite), momentarily thought that his mount would sail by Green Pepper, but he found out soon enough that Simons meant business, steadied and then whipped Hack Green into shape for a short-head success.
Hack Green was impressive all the same – he’s an authoritative individual, good to look at and gives the impression that 1400m and a mile is well within his reach. There is no shortage of stamina on the side of his dam Secret Mission (by Fort Wood), herself a full sister to Secret Heart and from a highly accomplished family of miler-stayers.
Legend (28-10, Anthony Delpech), a shrewd R160,000 purchase for Howells Racing at the 2015 BSA National Sale, quickened well to win the BSA Million Mile from Green Street Bloodstock’s Last Outlaw, also impressive in second.
The winner is the second foal of a mare who hadn’t produced a winner when Legend was bought, but Carl de Vos of Varsfontein Stud told Turf Talk: “As I recall Duncan Howells had trained Legend’s half-sister Malou for a while. She was a filly with ability but had a few serious issues which affected her racetrack performance and she never won a race, but Duncan must have seen something while he had her because he was keen on buying Legend.”
De Vos said that the dams of Hack Green and Green Pepper were both in foal again to Gimmethegreenlight, while Legend’s dam Colour Fast was in foal to What A Winter.
Varsfontein is understandly delighted at Gimmethgreenlight’s spectacular early success – his runners can sprint and stay and look like they will train on. De Vos commented: “Gimmethegreenlight is a beautiful and wonderful horse and he’s doing the job. We liked him when he was running and helped to syndicate him when he retired, so we’ve always had faith in him as a stallion. We’re hoping our successful results will continue, this is a game of ups and downs.”
Photos by Candiese Marnewick.