Call it luck, call it intuition, call it what you will, but victory in South Africa's oldest sponsored race, the Gilbey’s Stakes at Scottsville, might never have been for Jungle Cove (USA) mare Bold West were it not for perseverance.
A few seasons back breeder-owner Robin Scott decided to send the then juvenile daughter of home-bred Yasmini to Herman Brown to train. She was well enough bred to be a useful track performer - her dam had won six and had already produced stakes winner Bold East and, in addition, Yasmini was a half-sister to that very good filly Leta.
It, therefore, came as a surprise when the trainer said that the filly wasn't too clever and suggested that she be taken back to the farm. After a lengthy spell on the farm to allow the growing filly to find herself, she was put back into training at three but there was no marked improvement. But still, the stable persevered.
Towards the latter part of 1984 when Herman Brown was in the Cape with his string for the peninsula season, he received a telephone call from his assistant Darren Furr with the news that the filly had suddenly taken on a new lease of life, was working well and, above all, showed that she could gallop. The decision was taken to nominate Bold West.
Bold West made her racecourse debut at Scottsville on 19 December 1984 and despite running green, finished a creditable third. Having benefited from the race, she won next time out and then again at her third start. She made steady progress, eventually moving into the big league and the filly who was once considered a lost cause, was still able to give a good account of herself. In this class she was second, 2 odd lengths off the flying English filly Sunera in last year's Gr1 SA Fillies Sprint at Scottsville, and beaten a whisker by Model Man at Greyville in the latter's final prep race before his runaway victory in the Barclays 200 000.
The second to Model Man was Bold West's final appearance last year and it was some seven months before she was back in active competition. Greyville's Gr2 Chairman's Stakes over 1200m in early June was mapped out as part of her preparation en route to the Gilbeys. She ran a tremendous race in the Chairman's, finishing a close-up fourth after being cramped for galloping room at a crucial stage.
That run brought her into the Gilbey's picture but the betting indicated she was held by stable companion Enforce, who started a well backed favourite. Second favourite Russet Rouble from the Transvaal, was one of the smartest into stride at the start of the R150 000 Gr1 1200m race, but by the time the field had settled down, former Chris Smith Bloodstock Guineas winner Clean Break was out in front from a wall of horses which included Harrington, Bold West, First Base and Western Star.
Racing into the final 300m Graham Crealock made his move aboard Bold West and the mare immediately hit the front and had her race won some way out. Lord Randolph ran on strongly for second, 1 ¼ lengths off the winner, but never looked like getting to Bold West while the winner's stable companion Enforce, unable to go with them early, finished best of all to be ½ length further back third.
The time was a sedate 1:10,16 - more than two seconds outside track and race record - but the going was posted as slightly yielding after rain during the week. And so Bold West emerged as a sprinting force to be reckoned with with 8 wins and 10 places in 19 starts for R160 685.
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