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Stuart Ferrie leads in his first Graded stakes winner (Candiese Lenferna Photography). 


Stuart Ferrie was the odd man out on Hollywoodbets Durban July day as the only trainer of a winner on the day whose victor was not trained out of Gauteng.

That winner Gladatorian has a good story behind him, because the cause of the chief issue that bothered him was discovered this season and he has consequently begun to fulfil his potential.

Punters of Ferrie’s three-year-old Vercingetorix gelding would likely have felt their tickets were worthless halfway down the straight.

He still had a lot of ground to make up and looked to be going nowhere.

However, a change of whip hands by stable jockey Sean Veale at the 200m mark had the desired effect.

Gladatorian changed legs and took off.

He reached the favourite Thunderstruck in the shadow of the post and won going away by a quarter of a length, prompting a celebratory salute by Veale.

It was the eleventh victory of Ferrie’s fledgling career as a licensed trainer and those eleven wins already include to stakes victories, both by Gladatorian.

Ferrie said, “That’s the way he likes to run, he likes to run at them. When he won the (Listed) In Full Flight Stakes he ran at them and when he won in Cape Town he did the same thing.”

However, he admitted his hopes were not high at the 200m mark.

“I thought we were going to run a decent race, maybe not win, but at least not finish out the back!”

When Gladatorian started flying Stuart still did not know whether he would get there.

Stuart is one of racing’s more phlegmatic characters and there would likely have been an inner feeling of satisfaction rather than a wild display of emotion when his charge crossed the line first.

Gladatorian won second time out as a juvenile and followed up with a decent second in the Gr 3 Godolphin Barb over 1100m and then finished fifth in the Gr 1 Gold Medallion.

However, he has been lightly raced as a three-year-old.

Stuart’s former boss and original trainer of Gladatorian, Dennis Drier, explained how the horse kept on colicing.

A scope was done and although 90% of racehorses are affected by gastric ulcers due to exposure to the normal acid in their stomach, Gladatorian’s ulcers were shown to be abnormally severe.

Treatment has worked the oracle and he is now both a Listed and a Gr 2 winner.

He finished unplaced in the Gr 1 Golden Horse Sprint between those two wins, but Stuart felt he was perhaps too handy that day.

On Saturday Gladatorian ran off a 110 merit rating and carried 56kg.

He did well to win, because under the merit rated band conditions he was 1,5kg under sufferance with the Gr 1-winning Thunderstruck.

He has consequently been raised to a 114 merit rating.

Stuart said he would probably enter him in the Gr 1 Mercury Sprint, but felt he was unlikely to run because facing the like of Gimme A Prince on weight for age terms would be too tough an ask.

He said if he did not run there he would be rested and given his African Horse Sickness vaccines.

Gladatorian is one of 29 stakes winners for the boom sire Vercingetorix.

The latter is the most sort after sire in the country at present and he was already a Gr 1-producing sire at the time of the 2021 BSA National Yearling Sale, so Drier had to go to R400,000 to secure Gladatorian.

The three-year-old bay gelding was bred by Erasmus Thoroughbreds CC and sold by Varsfontein as agents.

He is owned by the Late Agasthamuni Gujadhur, E G Hart de Keating, M L Jean Hardy & Michel Nairac.

There should be more to come from this progressive speedster.

Picture: Sean Veale celebrates as Gladatorian denies Thunderstruck and Christophe Soumillon in Saturday’s Gr 2 Post Merchants (Candiese Lenferna Photography).