THE Vaal yard of veteran trainer Tobie Spies enjoyed a marvellous day at Greyville on Saturday when they came away with three winners at the Durban July race meeting, including CTS purchase Van Halen, who won the Non-Black Type eThekwini Sprint over 1200m in impressive style.
The earlier wins by Spies-trained Basilius and Cockney Pride pointed to a good performance from Van Halen to complete the treble, but there were some doubts about his ability to handle the Polytrack in his first appearance on the artificial surface.
Spies said: “With Basilius we were confident, when he won on turf at Greyville last time, Muzi Yeni took him down to the start on the Polytrack and reported that he appeared to relish the surface. All we had with Van Halen was that he worked up a storm at home on our sand track, which is not always the same as the poly but we did think he could win.”
He added: “Van Halen has beaten stronger, but what impressed us in this race was how quickly he made up ground after he turned for home last. He made up the ground fast, got to the front and then hung on. He does tend to loaf a bit when he gets there.”
Van Halen, a R100,000 buy from the 2017 Cape Premier Yearling Sale, has now won just a shade short of R1-million for the partnership of Rob Macnab, Fito Englezakis, Alfie Pawson and Freddie van Wyk.
A three-year-old gelding by Oratorio from Rock Opera, by Lecture, his record shows six wins and three places from 17 starts.