Jockey Patrick Mungai’s Lettfot left it late to narrowly clinch the highlight 2,400m Kenya Oaks trophy at Ngong Racecourse on Sunday.
The Stewart McCcann trained fillie endured last-minute pressure from the rear from the likes of Soho Mouse and Ione ridden by Leslie Sercombe and James Muhindi respectively. The race itself started with a bang under mild sun and subdued tracks with the front trio charging hard inside the first 1,600m of the longest meet of the day.
Positions were interchanged rapidly especially between Muhindi and Mungai in a battle that wowed the fans at the stands.
However, the calculating Sercombe was waiting to pounce and at the final bend took the inner lane and attacked. With about 200m to go, Lettfot came alive and strode heavily as Mungai pushed it to the limit and expertly waded off competition thus collecting the priceless win by a meagre neck gap in a race timed at 2:55:04.
In another big meeting, Martin Micino led from the front in the Champagne Stakes: Lady McMillan Cup 1200m event. His fillie named Impala and trained by Onesmus Mutua was buoyant as he vanquished the pack in five-and-a-half lengths.
The race, clocked at 1:18:09, was reserved for two-year-olds and Micino’s weapon of choice did not disappoint with a fierce run despite a slim challenge from Muhindi’s Abby Rose.
This was to be the young fillie’s first win across two starts and it showed great courage following excellent communication with the rider.
Meanwhile, in the 2,060m Delamere Gold Vase (George Drew Challenge Series), Lesley Sercombe’s big running Free Wheeler cruised to victory by three lengths in a meet timed at 2:18:08.
Favourite and multiple horse of the year winner Western Ballad, jockeyed by Daniel Tanui, failed to live up to expectations as it came in fourth in an epic meet that saw five top runners participate.