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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

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Silver Operator sprints to victory on our Race Day

Richard Fourie on Silver Operator at the winning line at the Independent on Saturday Race Day at Greyville. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA)

Richard Fourie on Silver Operator at the winning line at the Independent on Saturday Race Day at Greyville. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 14, 2022

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Durban was at its best on a beautiful autumn day for the Independent on Saturday’s Race Day, on Saturday.

It has been about 60 years since the first 1 400m Drill Hall Stakes in 1962, giving a sense of one of the Independent on Saturday’s most popular weekly features, Then and Now, a tag which was also attached to one of the races earlier in the day.

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The field at the 200m mark. Silver Operator is on the far left, with Russian Rock far right. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA)

Punters came from near and far for the traditional opener to the winter racing season, although Independent on Saturday staff only had to cross the road. Like other landmarks, St Anthony’s Catholic Church and the Kendra Hindu Temple, Independent Newspapers is on the edge of the race course that dates as far back as 1844.

Winner Silver Operator is led in at Greyville by Jenny Jones and trainer Vaughan Marshall (left), with owners Jane and Ken Truter, right, and Richard Fourie in the saddle. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA)
Sadha Naidoo, vice-chairperson of Gold Circle and Duncan Guy, senior reporter at the Independent on Saturday, present jockey Richard Fourie with his award. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA)

The feature race, the Grade 2 Independent on Saturday Drill Hall Stakes, was won by Silver Operator, a six-year old bay gelding ridden by Richard Fourie and trained by Vaughan Marshall.

With final odds at 13/2, Silver Operator came flying down the inside rail right at the finish to clinch an exciting race, which up until metres before looked like it was going to be won by Smorgasbord, on a course where the going was good to soft.

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Sadha Naidoo, vice-chairperson of Gold Circle, and Duncan Guy, senior reporter at Independent on Saturday, with Silver Operator’s owners Jane and Ken Truter. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA)
Sadha Naidoo, vice-chairperson of Gold Circle, and Duncan Guy, senior reporter at Independent on Saturday, present an award to trainer Vaughan Marshall. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA)

Silver Operator had just come off a second place in Scottsville in April, and a win at Kenilworth in February to dominate the season opener.

Second by a head was Russian Rock ridden by Keagan De Melo and trained by Dean Kannemeyer, who came hurtling in on the far side. Third was Smorgasbord with Gavin Lerena in the saddle, and trained by Paul Peter.

The two course favourites – Seeking the Stars at 9/2 and Captain Fontane at 7/2 –didn’t feature.

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Ryan Botsis, Zama Majola, Sne Hlela, Glen Kotzen and Richard Philps at the Independent on Saturday Race Day. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA)
Shabnum Moosa, Ziyaad Moosa, Duncan Guy, Tashni Bridgmohan and Zama Majola at the Independent on Saturday Race Day at Greyville. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA)

The Independent on Saturday

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