Sunday, 1 July 2012
: Prominent breeder and owner Mary Slack has two runners in her familiar black and scarlet colours in this year's Vodacom Durban July, Ilha Bela and Gorongosa, both trained by Mike de Kock.
| Mike De Kock|
Photo by Racing and Sports
Ilha Bela is a daughter of Slack's only previous July runner, the champion mare Ilha Da Vitoria, who finished 10th in 2005 behind Dunford.
Slack, who races under the banner of her Wilgerbosdrift Stud, bred Ilha Bela and bought Gorongosa
at the Goffs Sale in Ireland.
The Irish-bred Gorongosa
, a five-year-old mare by Montjeu, drew well in barrier seven while Ilh Bela, a three-year-old Fort Wood filly, drew wide in barrier 21. Gorongosa
has won nine of her 12 starts, including her last five in succession, over trips from 2400m to 3200m. Ilha Bela
has improved tremendously this season. After finishing a short-head second in the G2 Gauteng Guineas and a narrow third in the G1 SA Fillies' Classic and was then a facile winner of the G2 SA Oaks over the tough Turffontein 2450m.
Slack said, “At least she will be safe from her wide draw.”
Slack didn't have a preference for either horse.
will find it too short and Ilha Bela is drawn hopelessly. I just hope they both come back safely," she said.
Slack bought Ilha da Vitoria in Brazil as a yearling.
“She had a good pedigree and although she was small she had a big backside. Jehan Malherbe, myself and Mike de Kock all liked her.”
Despite having raced other top fillies like Mother Russia, Slack admitted “sentimentally Ilha is still my favourite.”
The grey Ilha da Vitoria ran 26 times for 10 wins and 14 places including an amazing 10 second places.
Her seconds included four G1s, in the J&B Met, the Paddock Stakes, the Garden Province and the Triple Tiara 1 600.
However, she lost her bridesmaid tag in the 2005/2006 season when she was five, and was named the joint Equus Horse Of The Year having won the G1 Summer Cup, G1 Horse Chestnut Stakes and the G2 GommaGomma Challenge, plus seconds in the Met and Paddock Stakes.
She was retired after the most impressive win of her career in the GommaGomma.
Ilha Bela is also a small grey, although she is not as bulky as her mother.
Ilha da Vitoria's first foal was the Tiger Ridge filly Ilha Grande, who also earned black type by winning the Listed Oaks Trial.
She currently has a yearling and a two-year-old Tiger Ridge on the ground and was due to foal down to Right Approach last year.
Ilha Bela will be ridden in the July by Anthony Delpech, who together with De Kock will be attempting an unprecedented third win in succession.
Both Delpech and De Kock will be going for their fifth July winner overall, and in Delpech's case that would set a new record for July jockeys. Gorongosa
will be ridden by Kevin Shea, who will be going for his third July win.
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