Royal Victory (Candiese Lenferna Photography)
The Pedigree Obsessor
The dominance of Cape and Gauteng horses in the 2023 Summer Cup Final Field is overwhelming and from which the winner is expected to come, the appearance of just one KZN Raider is conspicuous in the fact.
ROYAL VICTORY, a strapping son of the continuously-surprising Pathfork and one of 2 for the Sire will be running his 15th race in a fairly light career that has seen him in the winners box 3 times with 6 places. His last win was a very different but impressive from-behind effort in the NBT Pink Drive Michaelmas Handicap over 1900m at Greyville on 15 October. It was not the quality of the field that stood out but more so the manner in which he won that event and thereby confirming his acceptance into the Summer Cup.
That win was not only a very sentimental and emotional one for Co-Owners Peter & Belinda Victor but it also exposed the Geldings ability to race beyond the mile which had been his upper test distance prior. It was Peter Victor that implored Trainer Nathan Kotzen to run him over more ground and the emotional scenes recorded and shared on social media was a joy to behold, epitomising the very essence of this wonderful sport.
Kotzen will be up against the like of his former boss Mike de Kock and will no doubt be quietly wishing to get one over him. His colleagues back home in KZN will be screaming Royal Victory home.
Notwithstanding the quality of it, ROYAL VICTORY is from a pedigree that on simple desktop review does not ooze potential beyond 1800m except for the presence of Sadlers Wells in the female side of his sire line. It is therefore technically difficult to rate his chances in this field over this distance as anything more than “fair”. But in horseracing nothing is ever guaranteed and some of the sports biggest surprises have come from an unexpected place.
His Pilot, Muzi Yeni, is no stranger to the Big T nor the number 1 box adding to the fact he strengthens the Durban quotient by being homebred himself. The enigmatic Muzi climbs aboard this runner for just the 2nd time and that alone might be the only concern. That Yeni has the talent to get a horse into a Grade 1 No 1 box is not in doubt however.
James Armitage (Sandown Stud) must be relishing the fact that one of his 2 Resident Sires has 2 runners in the big race including the consistently well performed BINGWA. Those with a deeper Punting knowledge seem to be leaning more toward the more youthful entry.
It is another eagerly awaited contest of some of the countries top horses so here is to hoping the weather plays ball, all horses return home safely and we are treated to another spectacle of magnificent racing.
Royal Victory drew barrier position 14, but he did have a similarly tough draw of 12 out of 13 when finishing fourth at the euqilvalent meeting last year in the Dingaans.