(Photo : JC Photographics)
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EMPERORS PALACE READY TO RUN SALE
8 NOVEMBER 2009
The word Phunyuka means to “escape” in Zulu, and the horse by that name’s massive win in this continent’s richest race on sand, the Emerald Cup (Gr.2) might’ve been many people’s idea of exactly that. Truth is though, this was a triumph for the little fellows, a sort of David and Goliath re-enactment in one of the few places where it’s possible. There was an old saying in racing that you could never beat Harry Oppenheimer in the boardroom, but you could level the playing fields on Saturdays. Here was a case of a regular owner, a regular trainer and if it weren’t for the fact that he is 54, of a regular jockey and an inexpensive horse, climbing to the mountain top.
To be fair though, these aren’t your regular guys. Wally Brits and Roy Magner work as hard as anybody when it comes to picking their horses, and “jockey” Willie “the Wizard” Figueroa has shown he belongs at the top table more often than we can remember. A dedicated bunch of professionals, who reap their rewards because they do the usual things, unusually well.
This victory brings home to us just one more time, the reality of the Ready To Run. For years now, as they’ve built this sale to its present place in the pantheon of excellent racehorse sales, Summerhill have dubbed it the sale with a horse for everyone, and Phunyuka’s was another outstanding example of this credo at work. R90 000 is all it cost to acquire this colt, despite the evidence of his ability at the gallops and the connectivity in his pedigree to the likes of Politician, Bianconi, Al Nitak and The Sheik, in recent years.
More aspirants in a crowded house…
Organisers of an event of the ilk of the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup, given its timing, would always harbour a concern that you’d be short of quality entries to fill a field of sixteen for a prize of R1,5million. No such thing when it comes to this Cup though, as it has a habit of rolling out the winners week after week. Popular KwaZulu Natal owner, Chips Pennells, is one who has targeted this race with success in the past, and there’s every possibility that all of his three purchases from last year, could be lining up for the big one on the 7th November.
Just last weekend, Smanyo got up in the dying strides of a competitive maiden at Greyville, and Friday evening saw Vumani put up his hand for a place, when he showed his appreciation of the extra furlong at the Greyville circuit. Tucked in behind him less than a length away was Makulu-Kulu, who Mike Miller will no doubt be hoping will give him a second successive victory in the race.