HORSERACING in South Africa started around the 1800s, when Lord Charles Somerset arrived in the Cape. Some 218 years later we still don’t have a handy reference guide, printed or online, that reflects the history of our major races. Perhaps now that the NHA have gym facilities at headquarters its staff will have the energy to work on accessible data bases that go back further than a decade.
We’re going to assume that, after Saturday, Nother Russia was the first ever back-to-back winner of the Gr1 Empress Club Stakes at Turffontein. We could be wrong, we’ve only found stats going back to 2009, but the five-year-old mare by Tiger Ridge has apparently done what none of her illustrious predecessors could do.
The available Empress Club honour roll reflects names almost in the league of the superstar it was named after – Dancer’s Daughter, Dancewiththedevil, Majmu and indeed Nother Russia’s dam Mother Russia won this race – and while Nother Russia is perhaps not quite equal to her dam, she’s pretty damn good!
De Kock said on Sunday: “Mother Russia was a fantastic mare who won the Queen’s Plate, the Majorca and the Paddock Stakes. Nother Russia was a slow starter. I think the penny dropped the day we put her over a mile at Turffontein and she beat Bella Sonata in the Gr3 Acacia Handicap, receiving 4kg. A month later she met Bella Sonata at level weights and beat her by a wider margin in the Empress Club.”
De Kock suggested that Nother Russia would be headed for the broodmare paddock at Mauritzfontein Stud after the running of the Champions Challenge in May and said: “She ran a super race to Deo Juvente and Legal Eagle in the R4-million race last year and she will again be coming into it in top form.”
Another mouthwatering duel with Legal Eagle could be on the cards and you never know – Nother Russia is as game as they come, she relishes a fight and if the male champion doesn’t bring his A game, the mare will be there to pounce.
Nother Russia is 8 from 17 and just short of R2,7-million in stake earnings for owner Jessica Slack. She was bred by Mary Slack at Wilgerbosdrift Stud.