Defying the legend of the best of the Marvel Comics, top Cape heavyweight rider Bernard Fayd’herbe had Superman at sixes and sevens at Clairwood today.
Proving something of Anton Marcus’ nemesis, he won four races and had the champion running second behind him on three occasions.
Fayd’herbe is the ultimate thinking man’s jockey, and while Marcus isn’t half-slow or used to losing races, the Capetonian showed him a thing or two on an entertaining midweek afternoon show within a show.
Raw entertainment and absolutely no hanging about. That is the nature of the Apprentice-only races. The opening leg of the Pick Six would have had punters loading up, but it really wasn’t necessary to go wide – on paper that is!
The only rose amongst thirteen thorns, Apprentice Denies Lee rode a rather over-complicated race to win the fourth, an Apprentice Handicap run over a mile. Riding the fancied Doowaley gelding, Africa for Pat Lunn from a 2 draw, Lee looked to have done enough by staying out of trouble at the head of affairs for most of the journey.
At the 300m marker her colleague Julius Mariba cruised down the centre with what seemed a double handful on the Lafferty-trained Dynamic Star. Either Mariba deserves an Oscar or Dynamic Star hit an invisible brick-wall in a major way, but whatever happened Lee set off towards the grandstand and cost herself 100m. The promising young rider somehow still managed to conjure up a win by 0,75 lengths!
Africa started joint 5-1 favourite with the third-placed Liberty Island, who stayed on well.
The race was a triumph for the fairer sex, and the head-on cameraman, who somehow managed to follow the errant winning gelding as he charged in the direction of Queensburgh on the way to what seemed an unlikely win at the 200m marker.
The Rosedene Stud-bred Africa has won 2 of his 12 starts, and may need some stronger handling next time.
The day started on a fairly predictable note with Fayd’herbe keeping Greg Ennion’s smart gelding Shimmer And Shine going by a half-length to beat Marcus on the 12-1 first-timer Flyfirstclass for Craig Eudey. It was an exacta for full-value Summerhill stallion, Kahal.
Fred Crabbia owns the Waterford Stud-bred who has shown a perfect improvement curve with a third, second and now first placing in his three career starts. It is early days, but he looks a fair buy for his R180 000 National Sale price tag.
Punters had to wait a few hours for the return match. Bernard Fayd’herbe once again outfoxed the legendary Superman in a moment of true genius, when he grabbed a winning march at a crucial time to win the fifth race on the Mike Bass-trained Rushing Wind. Marcus piloted the 16-10 favourite Galileo’s Destiny in the Allowance Plate run over 1500m and he tried to dictate matters.
Marcus was still in front at the 400m marker, but Fayd’herbe used Rushing Wind’s short burst to grab a crucial three lengths and he held his advantage all the way to the line to win by a neck. A brilliant ride!
Rushing Wind has not won since 2 July 2010 at Scottsville but the 2009 Matchem Stakes winner has a history of being an expensive bridesmaid. Amongst other close-up performaces, he ran 4th in the 2008 Selangor Cup;4th in the 2009 Diadem;2nd to JJ the Jet Plane in the 2010 Golden Horse Casino Sprint;3rd in the 2010 Merchants;4th in the 2010 Diadem; 2nd in the 2011 Cape Flying Championship behind What A Winter;3rd in the 2011 Drill Hall Stakes behind Past Master;2nd in the 2011 Listed Umgeni Handicap; 4th in the 2011 Cape Merchants; 3rd in the East Cape Sprint Cup behind Castlethorpe and 5th to Delago Deluxe in the recent Golden Horse Casino Sprint.
The start of this race was marked by a concerning incident surrounding the Charles Laird-trained Northern Emperor, who got his off-fore stuck over the stall-gate as they loaded. Remarkably his rider dismounted, a handler unhooked him and the jockey jumped back aboard and the field was sent on their way. No trotting to check soundness by the Vet? One would surely think that there would be bruising at the very least, if not some sort of pulled tendon/ligament, depending on how/where he was caught up?
Fayd’herbe registered the last double on the card and kicked sand in the face of De Kock July hopeful Canterbury Tales, when he brought the Yogas Govender-trained Premium Wood with a cracking late run to win the eighth, an MR 86 Handicap over 1800m. Canterbury Tales, who started at even money, has made a promising start to his career and was ridden confidently from the front by Marcus.
Fellow three year old Premium Wood, who was giving him 2,5kgs, kicked on the stronger and ran away from Canterbury Tales to win by 1,25 lengths. The De Kock horse will not be running in the 2012 Vodacom Durban July on this effort.
Premium Wood is a Plattner home-bred who had no chance when 11 lengths behind Variety Club in the KRA Guineas, but has won three of his other 8 starts.
Marcus rode the 4-1 second favourite Soundsgreatome for Paul Lafferty in the last, a Maiden Plate for fillies and mares run over 1800m. The Casey Tibbs filly could do no better than run 14,80 lengths in third last position though as that man Fayd’herbe brought the grey Spectrum Shanahan through in the final 300m to win going away fromCadillac Palace. The Jeff Freedman-trained winner jumped from a 15 draw and won smartly at only her fifth start. She was bred by Yellow Star Stud.
Marcus did pull one back when winning the second race on the De Kock first-timer Rumya. The New Zealand-bred two year old daughter of Red Ransom went off at 7-10 and won easily.
But it was Bernie’s day!