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The Grade 3 Tommy Hotspur Handicap over 1000m at Turffontein Standside on Saturday saw a scintillating performance by Gary Alexander’s R280,000 CTS Ready To Run buy, Champagne Haze, who is now eyeing one or two of the big SA Champions Season sprint events.

Alexander thus achieved the rare feat of winning a race which was named in honour of a horse he trained and remarked it was very rewarding to have done so.

Meanwhile, Lyle Hewitson, who rode Champagne Haze, edged closer to breaking the all-time South African record for the number of winners as an apprentice.

Champagne Haze, a five-year-old gelding by Kahal, is a half-brother to “The People’s Horse”, the Alexander-trained Pierre Jourdan. Therefore, he is not surprisingly better from 1200-1400m than 1000m.

Carrying 61,5kg on Saturday he was duly outpaced. He was near last going through the half-way mark and still had about five lengths to make up. However, as the leaders began running out of steam, he hit top gear and was soon eating up the leeway. He passed the line 1,7 lengths clear, a result which had looked impossible half-a-minute earlier.

Alexander said Champagne Haze would now defend his title in the Grade 2 Senor Santa Stakes over 1160m at Turffontein on March 31 and he would then have a go at the Grade 1 weight for age Computaform Sprint over 1000m at Turffontein on May 5. Champagne Haze, bred by Summerhill Stud, has won six races far, earning over R2,4-million in stakes.