Champion jockey elect, Lyle Hewitson, laid off with an injury, said last week that the one ride he was really sad about missing out on was the Sean Tarry-trained filly Return Flight in the R750,000 Gr1 Thekwini Stakes over 1600m at Greyville on Super Saturday.
Two-year-old Return Flight, ridden by replacement Anton Marcus, came into the race with a track record almost as good as her reputation and in her manner of victory displaced all doubts and put herself in line for an Equus Award.
Stunningly, this R20,000 purchase from the CTS 2017 March Yearling Sale provided the 2012 Vodacom Durban July winner and South Africa’s Champion First Crop Sire elect Pomodoro (Jet Master) with his first Gr1 success.
Relaxed behind Mazari early on, Anton Marcus took Return Flight up the outside at the 350m marker and she came home strongly to beat the late finishing Gauteng visitor Railtrip by 1,75 lengths in a time of 96,98 secs and gave Marcus his 101st Gr1 success.
“She’s a real grinder this filly, a tough girl,” commented Marcus.
Return Flight, owned by Chris van Niekerk, was bred by Mike Sharkey from the four-time winner Heading Home (Special Preview). She has won 3 races with 2 places from 5 starts for stakes of R613 625.
Pomodoro, who ran in the same silks for the same trainer when winning the Vodacom Durban July at this track, stands at Klawervlei Stud.