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The R750 000 Gr1 Tsogo Sun Gold Medallion over 1200m at Scottsville on Saturday turned into a memorable race for CTS, whose graduates filled the first three places.

It was also a triumph for Avontuur GM Pippa Mickleburgh and her team whose resident stallion Oratorio sired the first two past the post.

The upset winner was Tobie Spies-trained Van Halen, a R100,000 buy from the prolific CTS R2R Sale in 2016, who won from the favourite Cue The Music (CTS Select Yearling Sale) and Chimichuri (Cape Premier Yearling Sale).

Van Halen was bred by Limpo Retail and is out of the one-time winner Rock Concert. The latter, a daughter of Lecture, is a full-sister to another Spies-trained star in Rock Opera, who is out of Drummer Girl (Al Mufti). This family has served the Spies’ well and the latter was unbeaten in South Africa, winning the Gr2 SA Nursery and the Gr1 Allan Robertson Championship!

Exported to Dubai, she placed third in the Listed UAE Guineas for the late Sheik Rashid.

At stud, Rock Opera produced the 14-time winner Heavy Metal (GB) by Exceed and Excel, whose successes included a Gr2 in the UK.  Van Halen is owned by the partnership of Fito Englezakis, Rob and Susan Macnab, Alfred Pawson and Fred van Wyk and Spies said: “Fito and Rob are long-time supporters of the stable, it is great to have won a Grade 1 race for them. Alfred is a new owner in the yard, he wasn’t here today but phoned us early to say that 15 was his lucky number and that today would be Van Halen’s day. Van Halen was number 15 and drawn 15. Well done to all!