Flag Of France made his centennial visit to a racecourse at Turffontein on Saturday and trainer Romeo Francis’ evergreen eight-year-old put in his customary game finish for second behind El Bombero over 1200m.
Flag Of France, who is due to run at the Vaal tomorrow, has won nine races – his biggest win coming in 2013 in a MR 100 Handicap when he beat American Storm by 0.75 lengths. He has won three races since then but outstandingly, has finished in the money in 40% of his races, showing a lot of guts and how shrewdly his trainer has planned his career.
“He is an eight-year-old but he really enjoys his racing,” said jockey Gavin Lerena, who rode him on Saturday. “He loves every minute of it. He’s just so honest. He tries his best every time he goes to the track. He’s a sound horse, a happy horse.”
Piere Strydom takes over the steering tomorrow.
Lerena had a great day on Saturday also winning three races at the meeting.
His day started well in Race 2 over 1600m when he rode Polar Ice for the Geoff Woodruff stable and got his mount to fly late to beat Strydom and big-margin leader Artax in the final stride.
He teamed up with Johan Janse van Vuuren in Race 6 to ride favourite Cathedral County for the stable, but not without giving his supporters a fright. Cathedral County raced very wide as the field cornered and seemed to lose his footing at one point, but Lerena steadied him and allowed him to find his feet in the straight. The Trippi gelding slowly built up moment and got home 0.50 lengths ahead of All Night Flight.
Lerena ended the meeting with another popular win, this one aboard Scott Kenny-trained favourite Tokyo Drift, who beat outsider Time To Be Great by a long neck in Race 9 over 1450m.
At Kenilworth on Saturday Green Street Bloodstock Syndication Company continued their stellar start to the new season as jockey Richard Fourie booted home a couple of winners for them to bring their tally to five from a limited number of runners, writes Ken Nichol.
League Game was a comfortable maiden winner in the h, followed by Master’s Spirit finishing well to nail down the seventh, a MR80 sprint.
This came as something of a surprise to many, including Green Street supremo Justin Vermaak, as he cheerfully admitted post race.
Remarkably their last four runners for the Snaith yard have all been victorious, and with their rider of choice Bernard Fayd’Herbe returning from a shoulder injury next weekend things are definitely looking up.
Earlier Snaith’s exciting Var sprint filly Casual Diamond underlined her class with a dominant display when completing a hat trick of wins in what had appeared to be a competitive FM84 handicap.
After languishing in second last for most of the journey, Aldo Domeyer set her alight coming to the final furlong, and she unleashed what is becoming a familiar impressive turn of foot to swiftly put her five rivals firmly in their places.
Her trainer intimated she would now be given a rest before returning to compete in the fillies sprint features of the Cape season such as the Southern Cross and Sceptre.
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