We had just two yearlings on the 2015 Cape Premier Sale. They were both good looking Captain Al colts, so we felt fairly confident of a reasonable outcome. However, nothing is certain at auction sales, and this one ended up being a huge disappointment. The first colt didn’t sell. Elation at the R450 000 achieved for the second, Sergeant Hardy, quickly turned to depression, as the colt failed the scope, resulting in the sale being cancelled. He had been bought by Veronica’s son, Christopher, who instead bought half of the other colt, Crowd Pleaser.

Sergeant Hardy was then prepared for the Cape Ready To Run Sale, but as his condition – paralysis of the right vocal chord – had not improved, he was bought in at R70 000 and put into training with Justin Snaith. The plan was to let him have an early run to see if his racing ability was affected by the breathing issue. He won by a comfortable 4.5 lengths, setting up a date on J&B Met day, for a crack at the Summer Juvenile Stakes.

He led most of the way, carrying top weight, and prevailed by just less than a length. The runner up, Pacific Spirit, won his next start as he liked. The third-placed Bishop’s Bounty is highly thought of, but has not run again.

We would be excited about him anyway, but as we also race him, there is the additional excitement of planning his future. He is a November foal; under any other circumstances he wouldn’t be anywhere near a racecourse. The question of whether to do a tie-back operation may need to be addressed at some point. Our hope is that he will line up, fit and well, in the major three-year-old races during the Cape Summer Season.

Christopher passed away in May 2015. Given his connection with the horse, however brief, Sergeant Hardy carries a great deal of emotion for us.

Here is his Ready to Run gallop. He’s a magnificent animal, which partly explains why a horse declared to have a wind problem went through the ring for as much as he did.