INFAMOUS Fox must be one of the better known horses in Durban July Day history – not for winning the big one – but for winning a Listed race on the day, three years running. Warren Kennedy was the third jock to ride him in this contest, following Nooresh Juglall (2018) and MJ Byleveld last year.

The grey gelding by Foxwedge has made the Thukela Handicap his own since 2018, and trainer Candice Dawson told Turf Talk it’s not impossible that he’ll return for another defence of his title in 2021.

She said: ‘Infamous Fox loves Greyville, and he comes to his best at this time of year. Durban July inclusion has evaded us, but the Thukela comes around every year and it’s a race that suits him so well. We weren’t aiming him specifically at last Saturday’s renewal, but that’s the way things worked out.

“He stumbled in the Summer Cup last year, ran below best and we put him away for three months. His comeback run to Hawwaam was not a reflection of his form at all, that’s there for all to see.

“He was coming along nicely at home, we expected better but he raced very wide in the race won by Hawwaam and that was his downfall on the day.

“He’d been working exceptionally well after that so we decided to have another go at his favourite raceand we were absolutely delighted. Everyone in the stable loves Infamous Fox, he is very dear to all ourhearts and while his fan club had to stay at home this year, they were there in spirit. Kathryn (Ralphs) has a video clip of the gang shouting him home last
Saturday, it is worth seeing!”

Dawson said that the grooms at Summerveld love Infamous Fox almost as much as his home team. She said: “My Durban runners are stabled next to Paul Lafferty’s yard, there are always grooms around and about. They know who is visiting, they talk among themselves and they often have a bet, so they’ve already asked me if we could come back
next year, because Infamous Fox brings them cash at good odds every year.”

One has to wonder whether Kathryn, our now-and-then columnist and boyfriend Chris Santos got the cash too, being avid form students and avid travellers and so on.

Ahead of the July, we at Turf Talk had been pleading for weeks for another column and she
kept giving lame excuses. The suspicion is that Infamous Fox had been lined up for a strike, and they were travelling around bookmakers’ shops to take small individual bets to keep the price in check. That’s just a theory, though.

Kathryn said that her grandfather, Derek Ralphs, and dad Lindsay were especially fond of the grey. “My grandpa was with my dad when he bought Infamous Fox at the Klawervlei Farm Sale. He liked him, said he was a superstar from the moment he saw him.”

CK Racing had enjoyed success half an hour before Infamous Fox’s win, when speedy filly Gallic Princess (Gavin Lerena) galloped her rivals dizzy in the eThekwini Sprint over 1200m, winning by 2.50-lengths.

Gallic Princess, formerly owned by Philip Kahan and Anthony Joseph, was offered to Larry Nestadt after she’d won three races for Corne Spies and Nestadt liked the pedigree, saw potential and struck the deal, bringing in Gary Player as a partner.

Gallic Princess looks like she has feature potential and Dawson said: “She’s fast, she won a very good race and the Mercury Sprint is a possibility for her, but we’ll have to consider where she draws before we make a decision.” 

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