The true home-baked value of investing in the progeny of stallion Dynasty is underlined by his dominance of the 2012 Champions Season feature events, including fielding two of the leading Durban July candidates. He is also versatile, and two of his less illustrious sons could grapple over the spoils of the highest rated race at Durbanville on Wednesday. The 2003 Vodacom Durban July winner has made a smashing impact on our breeding industry in a relatively short space of time and he is represented on in Africa’s Greatest Horseracing event on 7 July by all of the brilliant Jackson, Beach Beauty and the less-fancied Sage Throne.
Amber To Red
We are talking bread and butter fare for now though and the pleasingly well patronised eight-race midweek programme at Durbanville is headed by an MR 87 Handicap run over the tight 1400m. The eleven-horse field is characterised by a rather alarming dearth of form on most of the contestants’ formlines and Dynasty provides the joint topweight Amber Palace and the bottomweight Red Banner, who meet the minimum requirements of some fair recent form and workable barrier positions.
Justin Snaith rather raved about the ability of Amber Palace as a juvenile and this gelding won his maiden at his second start at prohibitive odds of 5-10, beating the very able Northern Conquest easing up. He then came out in the Gr3 Betting World Nursery and gave the well-performed Depardieu a fright when running him to 2,50 lengths. Amber Palace actually had a horse we have all come to know and love, 1,80 lengths behind him there. That fellow’s name is Variety Club, and while we are talking history of over a year ago, it was nevertheless a meritorious performance.
That said, Amber Palace has been something of a disappointment following that eyecatching performance. In eight career starts, he has managed to win just a Graduation Plate in Port Elizabeth. Seriously. Don’t ever count the chickens when it comes to racehorses.
His connections obviously believe he only does 1400m as he has been contained to this distance, and has slowly crept back to something that indicates he will win soon. At his last start, in an MR 96 Handicap , he ran the older and very capable Blanic to 2,25 lengths, giving him 2,5 lengths.
He had some fair sorts beaten, there, including Jet Into The Wind who jumps from a poor draw here, and cannot beat him on paper. That race was also on very soft ground, so if the likely rains turn up, then Amber Palace will be well at home.
Dynasty’s other son in this race is the lightly raced Ramsden runner, Red Banner, who really could be anything. We like him as a progressive sort who hails from a yard that has tremendous success at Durbanville.
Red Banner came up on his connections when winning easily first time out at 50-1 over 1200m. He was then rested for eight months before returning to racing with an unplaced effort 14,25 lengths back in an MR 80 Handicap. He then showed smart improvement when running on well for fourth 2,20 lengths behind the smart Kotzen-trained Roaring Wind last time. He steps up 200m here from his sprinting efforts, and he should relish the challenge. There is a strong chance that Joey would have galloped and let him see the country course, so he shouldn’t be green.
Glen Kotzen’s Spy Glass and the Govender-trained Winter Migrant look the two most likely to trouble the Dynasty stronghold.
The former De Kock Fort Wood gelding Spy Glass is a four-time winner, who seldom runs a below-par race. Bruce Ferreira’s galloper is a solid pacesetter, who doesn’t stop when most would expect him too. He had his first run at Durbanville last time when fading slightly to finish 2,25 lengths behind the well-performed Cavalli. That was over a mile, and he may prefer the 1400m of this race. Grant Van Nieker has won aboard him and knows him well. He is a danger if he gets into a dominant position.
The three year old Winter Migrant won his first race to rave reviews by top-judge Andrew Fortune, who paid him compliments that had most of us thinking that we may have seen a classic horse.That was not the case sadly and while he has run second twice, he always seems to get there when the show is over.
He jumps from a 2 draw and given what looks a likely good pace, he could be storming through to mount a serious challenge in the final stages.
As mentioned, we cannot see the Mike Bass gelding Jet Into The Wind reversing the form with Amber Palace. He finished over 5 lengths adrift last time when giving him a half-kilo. While he is a course and distance winner, he is inconsistent and disappointing.
Stan Elley’s Cork Forest attracts betting support every now and then, but has not won since November 2010 and his lukewarm form generates no confidence, despite the booking of top-jock Felix Coetzee.
Trainer Piet Steyn sends out the regular coupling of Pergamon Alter and Terry Lister and both look pressed to feature here.
Being a handicap where form is dodgy and reputations have been shattered, we would suggest that caution be exercised. Amber Palace looks much better than his bank balance at this stage and he is surely classy enough to clinch a race of this nature.
The danger could be Ramsden’s Red Banner, while Spy Glass and Winter Migrant are capable of big efforts from either end of the action. Beyond them it is difficult to make a case for anything.
But this is Durbanville in midwinter. That means anything could happen. And probably will.