It is a lot safer cycling on the N1 in Cape Town, than punting! Over 14000 of the 16500 live Place Accumulator tickets went into the dustbin courtesy of the two fancied runners going west in the final race at Durbanville on Sunday 11 March. Act Of Faith and Cognac On Ice looked head and shoulders above the rest, but neither were particularly brilliantly ridden.
The punter’s proverbial kiss of death was tossed into the equation by an unwitting, but no doubt well intentioned Tellytrack presenter Neil Pretorius, who told the public in his preview that Paddy Kruyer, former trainer of the favourite Act Of Faith(now trained by Fred Crabbia’s new man Greg Ennion) had said he felt this fellow was ‘headed for the tops.’
Well simply reasoned. Either Pretorius heard wrong? Or Kruyer is a bad judge-after almost forty years in the game? Mmmm…or just maybe Karis Teetan rode a poor race? Take your pick.
The Maiden Plate run over a mile was the final event on an uninspiring programme of Sunday racing in a city that sweltered in a blistering heatwave-and that was probably more widely concerned with the attractions of the 35th renewal of the now world renowned Cape Argus PicknPay Cycle Tour.
Away from the two wheeled sports and the cool sea breezes, and to his credit, Pretorius did caution against Cognac On Ice being taken too seriously based on the Polo Lounge form, which hasn’t exactly set the world alight. In his last run, the Govender-trained Western Winter colt had flown late after MJ Byleveld had stolen a huge march on Polo Lounge over the Kenilworth 1400m. Today Bernard Fayd’herbe took his mount to the head of affairs from his 7 draw and he was overtaken on the turn by a panic-stricken Code Red, who looked in a helluva hurry to get somewhere.
All the while, Karis Teetan had settled the Ennion trained Act Of Faith at the back and some ten lengths off the leaders. In the home straight Fayd’herbe had a clear passage and momentarily hit the front on Cognac On Ice as Teetan was weaving all over in no-man’s land, crying for a gap down the inside. Something that even a rocking horse jockey knows probably hardly ever materialises–particularly in a weak race where many of the battlers are gasping for air and going out the back-door in the final 300m.
In the final analysis, it was the improving grey Kahal gelding Amanzi, who flew up under Glen Hatt to give Joey Ramsden a third winner on the day. The Summerhill bred is owned by Gisela Burg and Martin Wickens, who also own the earlier Ramsden winner British Banker in partnership. He stayed on best to beat the improved King Air(you guessed it – Act Of Faith’s stablemate, who isn’t going to the tops!) and the Bass-trained Barrel ‘N Butt, who is quite a looker. Dean Kannemeyer’s Winds Of Noordhoek showed his first glimpse of ability over a trip too short for him, to run a nice fourth.
The Quartet maxipool in this race is another item for possible interesting debate as intimated by wide-awake Tellytrack studio presenter, Shaheen Shaw. The pool that reached R680 000 odd and saw the top two fancies fall by the wayside only paid a dividend of R4751. That is rather strange for any seasoned punter who can second guess most dividends within reasonable range. And particularly when one considers that the minimum PA dividend went up a 1000% after this result!
Ramsden’s earlier winner came in the third race and fourth races. Felix Coetzee turned 53 years of age in midweek but the sizzling Cape heat and 2000m did little to deter his enthusiasm for a winning ride. He let the long-striding British Banker make his own pace in the Maiden Plate that opened the Pick Six, and Ramsden’s charge relished the extra ground to win going away.
Assistant Trainer Ricardo Sobotker explained in the post-race interview that the gelding had shown good sand and cinder work from day one and it was only a matter of time before he would win his race.
Elated staunch Ramsden supporter Kai Von Garnier, a model of a dream owner if we have ever seen one, explained the mixed opinions over what distance the son of Windrush was looking for and said that he was ‘thrilled’ that the horse stayed on after they had believed him to be a sprinter-miler. He may not be amongst Von Garnier’s best, like Major Bluff or Omaha Beach, but one always has a shout over ground.
Gavin Lerena continued his serious bid on the SA Jockey championship title when he rode five superb winners at Borrowdale this afternoon. The five wins were achieved on the trot from the third race to the seventh. Between him, Derreck David and Sherman Brown, it was a clean sweep for SA based jockeys. His final win caused some consternation though when he switched mounts late from stablemate Officer Class(he was replaced by Quinton Riddle) to ride the 15-10 shot and eventual winner Syracuse.
The jockey change, through the non- availability of Railton Peters, was not disseminated to punters. The winner was backed from 22-10 to start 19-10 and paid a ridiculous R3-30 for a totalisator place.
Saftote, sirs – for the umpteenth time, this is just not good enough!