The Cape pace pirates were caught flat-footed by the initiative of top jockey MJ Odendaal. In the usual farcical big walk at Kenilworth, Odendaal decided enough is enough and took the bull by the horns at just past halfway. And was never seen again in the R200 000 Gr3 Chairman’s Cup.
MJ Odendaal has made his presence felt since his relocation to the Western Cape some three months ago, and maybe the locals need a few more wake-up calls to realise that true paces make for true races.
The Mike Bass yard sent five runners to post for the feature event and looked to hold the tactical upper hand. But as the field went through the 2800m marker it was obvious that despite their stamina arsenal, the Bass tactics were to slow things up and amble – the field being led at a common canter by a brace of their team, headed by Aldo Domeyer on Another Giant.
But Odendaal was having none of it and he sent In Writing around the field at halfway to inject a semblance of respectability into the action.The pony-tailed jock’s move was to prove rewarding as In Writing streaked further away, being given a minor breather halfway up the straight before skipping clear again to win well. The Fiedlspring Racing Argentinian-bred gelding has seldom enjoyed luck in a career that has seen him rated 105 at his peak. He had a blank KZN campaign last season, but may well find this confidence booster the tonic he needs to up his game. It was Duba- bound Dean Kannemeyer’s second winner of the afternoon.
A WPOTA Workriders/ Grooms race opened the day and Tellytrack presenter Shaheen Shaw probably echoed the thoughts and feelings of many punters when he rather sourly referred to some of the riders in this first race as sitting still, ‘like mannequins’. “We put our money down and this happens,” said a less than amused Shaw.
But it is a free world and betting options lie at the discretion of the individual punter – the R150 000 having been wagered on the quartet in this race attesting to some popularity. Trainer Dean Kannemeyer and his patrons will view the work-riders show quite differently as William Bambiso rode for his life down the inside to get their Windrush filly Souwester up for a surprise win.
Besides being quite a shock after three blank opening efforts, the win looked extremely unlikely about 250m from home as the favourite Countess Isabella cruised up under Shorty Ndzongo. An animated Bambiso switched the Kannemeyer filly to the inside rail – supposed to be less favourable going, we thought ! From close to last position, he rode like a man possessed and pipped the favourite to win going away. Kannemeyer trained the winner’s dam Fiery Spirit and she was bred by the Thoroughly Good Syndicate – whose members make up her ownership together with Dave and Sue Whitelaw and Karen Dobbie.
The most impressive winner of the day beyond the feature came in the second when trainer Vaughan Marshall’s Var debutante Valdivia waltzed away from her struggling opposition to win the Maiden Juvenile Plate over 1000m easing up. The Avontuur Stud bred filly is out of Irish River mare River Divine and cost R100 000 as a yearling. Justin Snaith may yet have some opposition to think about come the Cape Nursery!
The first exotic jolt of the afternoon came in the form of the free running Kukama under Morne Winnaar in the first leg of the Pick Six, the fourth race Maiden Plate over 1400m. Winnaar has battled to find his way to the winner’s enclosure of late but he took full advantage of the fancied Slip ‘N Slide and Fort Nelson’s lethargy early on. The two fancied runners were ridden as if they were budding world-beaters, being allowed to lope along behind the action. Both ran on steadily but only Fort Nelson emerged with a semblance of credit – plodding on late for third.
Piet Steyn trains Kukama for owner Ken Gray who was on course to lead his winner in – lovingly kissing the chestnut’s face in the post-race preliminaries. The Normandy Stud bred gelding had earned nothing in seven starts up till this afternoon and to demonstrate the extent of the surprise, 664 000 Pick Six combinations were buried with the minimum dividend being reflected as a mouthwatering R27-10 after just one leg.
A good quality field went to post for the MR 103 Handicap, the first leg of the carryover jackpot, run over 1400m and the race proved a memorable one for Plattner Racing with the stable companions featuring in the exacta. A horse who produces ‘mindblowing work’ according to jockey Bernard Fayd’herbe, Lake Arthur had not fulfilled his reputation as a likely serious candidate in the 2011 Cape Winter Series. But a rest, disposal of the blinkers and advanced maturity appear to have done the trick and the son of Jet Master looks very likely to build on his three wins from ten starts to date.
The poorly behaved Plattner horse King Lizard wasted his opponents time prior to the start of the MR 72 Handicap run over a mile, for what felt like an eternity – breaking through the gate and causing general stress for his better behaved adversaries. And it is puzzling indeed that the Starter was so liberally patient with a 40-1 oustider. That said, Brandon Morgenrood eventually bounced the gelding into a frenetically paced lead and with 300m to go he still looked threatening. Riding with great confidence and registering a smooth double, his colleague Bernard Fayd’herbe cruised past inside the final 250m and got recent maiden winner Premium Wood home at 7-2. Latin Magic kicked on late to pip King Lizard for second. The two three year olds Jet Explorer and Duke Of Beaufort both ran dismal races to finish out of the money.
The day closed with a thrilling three cornered finish to the MR 84 Handicap over 1200m with trainer Greg Ennion maintaining his purple patch for owner Fred Crabbia as Chris Puller kept Daintree Dancer going to ward off a flying Glen Hatt on the Ramsden longshot Prompter. The winner, an Australian–bred daughter of Mossman, was registering her third win(her first at Kenilworth) from ten starts.
.Chairman’s Cup (SAf-G3) (2/25) Kenilworth, South Africa, February 25, R200.000, 3200m, turf, good, 3.35.46 (CR 3.24.12). IN WRITING (ARG), 59.5, ch g 6, Editor’s Note – Inalay (ARG) by Candy Stripes. Owner Fieldspring Racing; breeder Haras Abolengo (ARG); trainer D Kannemeyer; jockey M Odendaal (R125.000) Komatipoort (SAF), 57.5, b g 4, Western Winter – Niyabah (IRE) by Nashwan Another Giant (AUS), 56.0, b g 5, Giant’s Causeway – Another Legend (SAF) by Lyphard’s Wish (FR) Margins: 6¼, ½, ¾ Also ran: Jeppe’s Reef (SAF) 56.0, Thanks John (SAF) 60.0, Posh Boy (SAF) 57.5, Vertical Drift (SAF) 52.0, Two Strikes (SAF) 60.0, Orchard House (SAF) 59.0, Golden Parachute (NZ) 56.0, Luno (SAF) 54.5, Vengence (SAF) 56.5