Article courtesy of Sporting Post: Geoff Woodruff had plenty to smile about when his magnificent grey Jet Master filly Touch The Sky came back to best to clinch the honours in sensational style in the R150 000 Listed Syringa Handicap run over a mile at Turffontein on Sunday.
The Varsfontein Stud-owned 4yo is one of the most well-bred fillies around and she produced a storming finish off a solid pace to grab the Mike De Kock-trained Maayaat in the final stride to win by a nostril. It was a terrific ride from Gavin Lerena – as his mount was all of ten lengths back at the 350m mark.
In one of those quirks of perception and determining the best distance, Woodruff admitted surprise that the former Listed Oaks Trial winner had acquitted herself so well over the mile.
Flying up the outside, Touch The Sky got the verdict by a short head in a time of 97,68 secs.
The favourite Seventh Heart ran unplaced and was reported not striding out right front. The pacemaking Negev returned with a mouth injury.
Lerena, looking naturally pleased that he had secured the hairline verdict, said that the race had panned out well:
“She has quirks in the gates and never gets away on terms- and then pulls quite hard. The blinkers seems to have done the trick. She is putting it in now. This was a good win as she is definitely a staying type of filly,” he said.
Trainer Geoff Woodruff said that he felt that it ‘looked too short on paper’.
“But it is a lovely surprise and what a fantastic ride. She has always shown a lot of promise and I thought that the handicapper was hard on her for the Gerald Rosenberg fourth. I ran her here as it was the only race for her and when Gavin was quick to ask for the ride, I felt quite positive,” he said.
Touch The Sky has now won 3 races with 6 places from 17 starts with stake earnings of R455 625.
She was sold for R1,1 million on the Cape Premier Yearling Sale Book 1.
Bred by Cheveley Stud she is by Jet Master out of one of the very best South Africa broodmares of recent times, the Royal Academy mare, Mystic Spring.
Unplaced on her sole racetrack appearance, Mystic Spring brought a world class pedigree with her to stud.
Her sire, Breeders Cup Mile winner Royal Academy, was a champion sire, who left behind him close on 170 stakes winners.
Royal Academy’s stock did very well in South Africa, with the likes of Eyeofthetiger (Vodacom Durban July) and Express Way (Cape Guineas) both winning at the highest level.
Mystic Spring’s dam, Secret Sunday, was a full sister to Mystiko – who gave Michael Roberts his first British classic when winning the 1991 English 2000 Guineas.
Her seven foals to reach the track all won – and, indeed, won a total of 20 races between them. Four were stakes winners, and two of Mystic Spring’s daughters have produced stakes winners to date.
Mystic Spring’s best runner was ill-fated champion Rabiya, who tragically suffered a fatal break down in the running of the 2005 Durban July. Before his untimely death, Rabiya had landed both the Gr1 Cape Guineas and Gr2 Cape Derby, as well as the Gr1 Daily News 2200.
Her 2002 foal was the striking grey, Secret of Victoria.
A very fast filly, Secret of Victoria won four features, including the Cape’s two graded sprint races for fillies – the Gr2 Sceptre Stakes and Gr2 Southern Cross Stakes.