South African based gelding Ilitshe is the latest Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale graduate to salute at stakes level.
Ilitshe (3g Fastnet Rock — Reem Albaraari by Sadler’s Wells) led from barrier rise and refused to buckle when tackled in the straight to win the Derby Trial (2000m) at Turffontein on Saturday.
Bred by Coolmore off-shoot Caradale P/L, he was sold for a mere $15,000 by Erinvale Thoroughbreds (as agent) at the 2012 Melbourne Sale.Â He was purchased by agent Colm Santry and that was a bargain for a half-brother to G1 Italian Derby winner Morshdi (Slip Anchor).
Ilitshe had won two on end in KwaZulu Natal before travelling to Jo’burg.Â Trainer Mike de Kock has nominated him for the G1 South African Derby (2450m) on April 26 along with stablemates Umgiyo, Taarish and Gone Baby.
de Kock’s retained rider Anthony Delpech will have to choose which one of the quartet to partner on Champions Day but he was very impressed with the Australian bred import on Saturday.Â “The penny hasn’t dropped with him yet,” Delpech said.Â “There was no pace so that meant I had to lead.Â He looks at everything but behaved well and I really like him.”
Ilitshe is the 59th stakes winner by Coolmore Stud champion Fastnet Rock.
“Well done to our Durban team — Ilitshe arrived in impeccable condition,” assistant trainer Matt de Kock said while standing in for his father who is in Sydney for the Inglis Easter Sale.Â “We had heard he was a difficult horse but there haven’t been any problems with him up here.”