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S’Manga Khumalo returns to the winner’s enclosure on Rain In Holland (Candiese Lenferna Photography).


Some Hard Luck Stories In The Gr 1 Event Too

“You only get one chance at a classic,” is an oft heard statement in racing and so Rain In Holland’s scratching from last season’s Gr 1 Woolavington 2000 after her mere entry had chased many potential runners away would have been a bitter pill to swallow.

However, she got a second bite at the cherry when the race was opened to older fillies and mares this season and on Saturday she proved once and for all that the procedure to solve an entrapped epiglottis that she had to have at the end of last season has been a success.

The procedure does have a high success rate, but many pundits felt she had run below par in the first half of the season and thus ignored that her three-year-old season showed that she tends to need a bit of racing to reach her peak.

The old combination of Sean Tarry and S’Manga Khumalo tasted Grade 1 glory together for the second time this season.

Khumalo will be favourite to partner Rain In Holland in the Gr 1 Hollywoodbets Durban July.

However, she will have to shoulder 58kg as things stand, which is 3kg more than Igugu’s record weight carrying performance for a female July winner, although it is just 1kg more if weight for age is taken into account.

Khumalo’s agent Monty Mariemuthoo mentioned the weight when asked whether Rain In Holland would be the twice July-winning jockey’s ride in the big one, but said she was an option and added they would have to commit to a ride soon or risk losing out, because at present it looked like most rides would be going to jockeys attached to the relevant stables.

Rain In Holland was drawn in pole on Saturday and Khumalo got the Drakenstein homebred daughter of Duke Of Marmalade in to a handy position.

In the straight, going for a run down the inside, she steadily wound up and then took off when it counted in the last hundred metres to win by a cosy 1,30 lengths from the progressive Brett Crawford-trained Hollywood Syndicate-owned Time Flies.

Last year’s winner Silver Darling ran on well for third ahead of the unlucky Hold My Hand and Marina finished fifth.

Hold My Hand sat in last and went for a rails run in the straight and found her path continually blocked. When she did finally find a gap she ran on strongly to be beaten only 2,50 lengths.

Sixth-placed Gilded Butterfly came into the straight at the back and went down the centre looking to be under a double handful. However, a gap closed on her at a crucial stage.

Peach Dacquiri was caught wide the whole way but could have earned if not squeezed out close to home by a shifting outward Rain In Holland and a shifting inward Time Flies. 

Saartjie was caught without cover one out and one back and was then squeezed out when pacemaker Ice Sunsation came off the false rail at a slightly outward angle, whilst Peach Dacquiri on the outside made a beeline for the finish.

Tarry said he knew the rest were in trouble when seeing Khumalo before the race.

Having partnered with him for many Grade 1s he can tell when the “Bling” energy is at its peak.

Tarry said when having a top horse like Rain In Holland it became a real team effort and he thanked his staff as well as Drakenstein Stud for entrusting him with their superstar homebred.

Rain In Holland has now won eleven races and she took Drakenstein’s tally of stakes wins this season, with 17 individuals, to an amazing 28.

Drakenstein also narrowed the gap on the Hollywood Syndicate in the intriguing race for the national owners title. After the weekend’s racing, the defending champions were less than R7,000 behind Hollywood.