Lightly weighted radier Hudoo Magic pulled a rabbit from the hat to win the Peermont Emperors Palace Charity Mile at Turffontein on Saturday.
Travelled up-country from the Durban yard of Cape trainer Brett Crawford, the 6-1 shot was well positioned from the start by Muzi Yeni, just behind the leading group, and his run up the middle of the track in the final 400m was too dazzling for the game pair Charles (10-1) and Youcanthurrylove (10-1). Reserve runner Tree Tumbo (20-1) got fourth place.
Hudoo Magic won R150,000 for his linked charity, Lesedi schools of Vosloorus. The representing celebrity, Afrosoul singer Zahara, was not shy to show her excitement and pride in the win.
Every charity represented by a runner in the Grade 2 race took away at least R50,000.
Hudoo Magic’s victory looked a lot more convincing than the 0.75-length margin suggests.
The imported son of Aussie sprinting superstar Choisir was heavily backed, having been quoted at 25-1 earlier in the week, so connections clearly reckoned their charge was spot on.
Cornish Pomodoro started as the 4-1 favourite, but never showed and ended up in eighth place.
Crawford gave all the credit for the win to his KwaZulu-Natal assistant Peter Muscutt, revealing that this was the duo’s last race together as Muscutt is branching out on his own next week.
Crawford was overcome with emotion as he spoke of the winner’s co-owner Barry Rae, who died just three weeks ago and would have been overjoyed at victory. The partner owners are an array of well-known racing personalities.
Yeni commented that he had looked at Hudoo Magic’s muddled form in his last five runs in Durban and concluded that he had an excuse in each outing and was coming into the Charity Mile well weighted with just 52kg.
“He’s a lovely horse and was very well in himself,” added Yeni. “I was a little concerned at one stage but, once he found his stride, I was able to get after him and he finished it off well.”
Another highlight of the race meeting was the delight of MK “Koos” Nkale when his horse MK’s Pride landed the Peermont Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup (Non-Black Type) – a sales race with the richest purse on the card.
“Out of this world!” exclaimed Nkale after the Willow Magic colt got up on the line to snatch the cheque of R450,000.
The 5-2 chance got a short-head decision from the dead-heating duo of 3-2 favourite War Of Athena and 40-1 outsider Flying Carpet.