Danie Toerien (4Racing)
His name is Johan Janse van Vuuren, but you can call him Mr Charity Mile.
Not only did Van Vuuren win the Allied Steelrode Onamission Charity Mile at Turffontein with Bingwa, but he also scored a 1-2 with Puerto Manzano taking the second spot.
Bingwa has now won the race two years running, defending the crown he won last year when trained by Dorrie Sham.
“My cheeks are hurting,” joked Van Vuuren after the race, “because I’ve now smiled more than I have in the last month.
“I thought it was a very competitive field this year. Bingwa has been working superbly for the last three weeks.
“I was very very confident when I got draw one not to necessarily win it, but that I will be very close.
“Puerto Manzano… well, I knew I had him in a tremendous space. As a matter of fact all my horses on the day are in great condition.
“We’ve been focusing on this day for the last three weeks and we’ve had a cracking day.”
Bingwa was ridden by Gavin Lerena while log leading Keagan de Melo was aboard Puerto Manzano.
Mike de Kock’s Safe Passage (Grant van Niekerk) and Joe Soma’s Red Saxon (S’manga Khumalo) completed the Quartet.
“He (Bingwa) is a super horse to train, he’s been very very easy. I took him over from the Shams and he came to me in fantastic condition.”
Lerena echoed Janse van Vuuren’s sentiments.
“He’s a wonderful horse to work with,” said the jockey.
“He came from Dorrie Sham, she did an amazing job with him, but Johan has taken over the reins beautifully. This horse has just kept improving. His first run back was two months ago, and he’s just kept improving in his work.
“All accolades must go to Johan. He was confident for this race. He said he was going to run one and two, doesn’t know which way and it‘s a great training feat to run first and second in this great race.
“It’s wonderful to give a worthy charity the first prize. It’s not the first time I’ve won this race and it’s very special. I think it’s great for horseracing.”
Mr Charity Mile had a day to remember – not just because of his 1-2 in the main event of the day.
He also saddled two other winners on the day in Southern Skies (Race 2) and Bon Vivant (Race 3).
For Epworth Village, a children’s home, Bingwa’s victory was extra special.
This charity was linked to Janse van Vuuren’s runner and thanks to the Pathfork gelding’s superb effort, this children’s home received the main donation of R100,000.
“This is absolutely amazing,” said Roberta Ingrato, who represented Edworth Village at Turffontein.
“We came on board without even really knowing it. We were nominated, so it was really a surprise, but we are truly, truly grateful.
“It just seem to happen and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
“With COVID we were blocked off from so many events and fund raising functions with many donors that have dropped off, so to be part of something like this is absolutely amazing.
“To be spoilt and treated like this is awesome.”
According to Ingrato it is the first time that they have been a beneficiary of the Allied Steelrode Onamission Charity Mile, and it was also her first time at a racecourse.
“Today has really been a first time for everything. I even placed a bet on Bingwa, and I’m so chuffed. I couldn’t choose to believe that this horse could win for our charity and not support him.”
All the sixteen charities linked to the 16 runners in the Allied Steelrode Onamission Charity Mile received a donation thanks to the sponsor and 4Racing.