Kenilworth racecourse saw one of the shocks of the 2018-2019 South African racing season unfold, as the Frankel sired debut winner General Franco, dispatched a 7-20 favourite, ran stone last when contesting the Suburban Spares Juvenile Plate over 1200 metres.
Jonathan Snaith mentioned pre-race that the regally bred Frankel colt needed more ground, but connections must have been gutted to see their R4 000 000 purchase finish last of six runners in Saturday’s contest.
The race went the way of the Vaughan Marshall trained Fearless Warrior, himself a smart winner on debut before finishing sixth, behind unbeaten colt Armando, in the Listed Somerset 1200 at his only other appearance.
FEARLESS WARRIOR (Vercingetorix) made all to win the opener at #Kenilworth on Saturday
Breeder: Klawervlei Stud
Owner(s): P Barrett, J Chowles, P R C Freestone, A Gujadhur, J H Kinsley, G S Knowles & Klawervlei Stud pic.twitter.com/whx0ECB2e0
— Racing Guru (@RacingGuru) May 18, 2019
Under jockey MJ Byleveld, the two-year-old went out to make the running and duly stayed in front, with Fearless Warrior holding off a game late challenge from reluctant to load Double Alliance and win by three-parts of a length. Double Alliance ran a good race in second, with General Franco’s stable mate Marco Polo taking third.
General Franco, keen early on, never really got into contention and eventually finished nearly six lengths off the winner.
Bred, like his sire, by Klawervlei Stud, Fearless Warrior, a R275 000 buy from last year’s April Yearling Sale, has now won two of only three starts and is yet another promising two-year-old for his conditioner, who also handles unbeaten rising star Captain Of Stealth.
Fearless Warrior was the first ever winner for the Silvano sired Equus Champion Vercingetorix (pictured), who has now a tally of nine first-crop winners to his name and who is currently South Africa’s Leading First Crop Sire of 2018-2019. Despite being unraced at two, Vercingetorix’s first crop has made a considerable splash this season, with his early stars including G3 Godolphin Barb Stakes winner African Warrior and the first two finishers in the Listed East Cape Nursery.
Saturday’s winner is the first foal out of the Captain Al mare War Path, a stakes placed winner of three, and daughter of the Rock Of Gibraltar sired Goldfields Sprint Handicap winner Uber Rock.