My Friend Lee powers home under Muzi Yeni (Pic – JC Photographics)
Lucky Houdalakis and Muzi Yeni opened the 2017 Sansui Summer Cup feature programme when the grey Pathfork filly My Friend Lee outstayed her thirteen rivals on the sticky going to win the R250 000 Gr3 Magnolia Handicap at Turffontein on Sunday.
A shrewd change of training programme with the emphasis on speed paid handsome dividends as the handily weighted 4yo registered her first stakes success at any price.
With half the field carrying 53kgs or less, the natural lightweight Winning Form-sponsored Yeni had the choice of rides and, despite feeling that one or two could have his beating, stayed loyal to a filly who has been good to him. Yeni,
Settled in midfield as Spring Wonder and Wrecking Ball showed plenty of toe, My Friend Lee was driven hard at the 400m as she looked to have plenty to do and a good six lengths to make up.
As the leaders tired, the gaps opened and My Friend Lee burst through as favourite Spring Wonder appeared to dig her toes in and didn’t quite go on with it.
Hard ridden, My Friend Lee powered home to beat Arissa, who was returning from a 37 week break, by 1,20 lengths in a time of 68,73 secs.
Lady Starlett, who had jumped from pole position, charged out of the pack for third and kept Spring Wonder out of the trifecta as she finished with a sustained effort. It was good to see that the course was running fair, with the draws represented favourably across the spectrum.
Muzi Yeni was elated at a thrilling big day success:
“She’s been good to me. They didn’t run her off her feet – they put some good speed work into her.I hit the front sooner than I wanted,” he said.
Lucky Houdalakis, who only had two runners on the day said that he couldn’t find any races between 1200m and 1400m:
“So we changed her training programme. The rain helped – they went quick and they came back to us,” said the former top jockey.
The winner races in a partnership of Bryn Ressell and Keith Waterston – the latter picking up his first ‘trophy’ after over 50 winners.
The Highlands bred My Friend Lee is a daughter of Pathfork (Distorted Humor) out of Sister Sheila (West Man).
A R300 000 KZN Yearling Sale graduate, she was the top-priced lot on day 2 of that sale when purchased by T&L Racing Stables
My Friend Lee is a winner of 6 races with 6 places from 17 starts and stakes of R548 125.
– Sporting Post