It is a race that has dished up sires and international Group performers. The quality of the 2012 vintage of the current crop of two year old males will be stamped in history when the winner of the Gr1 Zulu Kingdom Explorer Golden Horseshoe is crowned at Greyville on Saturday.
Cape conditioner Glen Kotzen’s Jet Master colt Fly Me Over looks to have taken a step closer to a big performance with the withdrawal of Potent Power, who was sold without engagements earlier this week.But there is not much form to go on, other than the Gold Medallion on the much spoken about Golden Horse Casino sprint raceday.
Singapore based owner Fred Crabbia has been a force in South African horseracing for many years and his black and red silks dominated the 2000 finish when he grabbed a remarkable personal trifecta courtesy of Tytola staying on to beat The Gard-Farder and Norinco.
A feature of this year’s race is that Gold Circle could well be running out of distinguishing colour caps at race-time as Crabbia has six representatives, fielded by four different trainers.
In fact Crabbia won it last year through trainer Ivan Moore, when the ill-fated Fighting Warrior got up in a surprise result to beat
the De Kock horse Mushreq. Moore has three runners for Crabbia, including the reserve runner, Forest Fighter.
His other two always warrant consideration. My Jelly Bean and Ottimo are unlikely future stars but are two horses that have been consistent and have paid their way. They should continue to do so.
My Jelly Bean jumps against the paint on Saturday and after winning his maiden over 1000m at Scottsville in January, has earned at his subsequent four starts, all in features. His last run was an excellent effort when staying on for third 1,75 lengths off Potent Power in the Gr1 Gold Medallion.
Australian-bred Ottimo has his fifth run and won the Umkhomazi on an objection at his third outing. He never featured when finishing 7,50 lengths back in the Gold Medallion, and his chances won’t be helped by his 11 draw in this race. He has a nice touch of class though
Our champion trainer Mike De Kock complicates the picture in his own inimitable manner by placing a rose amongst the thorns. She is the highly promising Australian-bred daughter of Redoute’s Choice, Honorine, who has won both her starts over 1000m. She jumps from a less than favourable 13 draw, but we can only guess and wonder how good she really is. She has certainly done nothing wrong.
But Fly Me Over looks the right one. Badly drawn at 12, this handsome colt ran a cracker in the Gold Medallion, when making god ground late to finish 5,50 lengths behind Potent Power at his second start. He won his debut over the Scottsville 1200m in very fast time, and was fancied to win the Medallion. Last time out he ran handily and then pushed the smart Skywalk Luke right to the line in a 1400m Juvenile Plate at Scottsville.
Fly Me Over’s draw does not count in his favour, but he would have benefitted from the experience of that last run and is a fellow with plenty of natural speed. This gives young Karis Teetan plenty of options.
Weiho Marwing sends out a three –way coupling of Ziparana, Danesco and Rock Of Arts.
Ziparana gets the services of Kevin Shea and ran two eyecatching feature efforts after a smooth debut win. He showed hot pace when running a 4,50 length second to Soft Falling Rain in the SA Nursery, and then faded late to finish 4,25 lengths behind Potent Power in the Gold Medallion. He may prefer 1000m, but will have a chance if he stays on.
Danesco won well enough on debut but then ran a shocker in the Gold Medallion next time out. That was a poor effort. He did run on steadily last time over 1160m at Turffontein, but will need more improvement to feature here.
The third of the Marwing runners is Rock Of Arts, who has to overcome a wide draw at 16. This promising son of Rock Of Gibraltar won his maiden in smart style, and then ran over 1400m at Turffontein. He showed some pace, but went up and down late and stayed on for third behind Desert Sheik. Robbie Fradd sticks with him and knows him well.
Spike Lerena’s American Dream is poorly drawn but is the only runner in this event to have won around the turn.He flopped in the obviously too short Protea Stakes, but won his maiden over a mile by 4,25 lengths. That was impressive.
Sean Tarry’s duo of The Hangman and Blushing Peter could play a role and the former is preferred. He was considered able enough to contest the SA Nursery as a maiden, and didn’t
run too badly when staying on late for a fair fifth. He strode away by 5,75 lengths last time to shed his maiden in emphtatic fashion over 1200m at Clairwood. He is well drawn and should run into the moneyb
Blushing Peter ran fourth behind the Dubai-bound Soft Falling Rain in the SA Nursery, but has bungled subsequent efforts to shed his maiden certificate. That is not quite good enough here.
Karl Neisius rides the Captain Dino for Dennis Drier, and the Captain Al gelding won his debut over 800m. His form has gone west since, and he will have to improve leaps and bounds.
The Lafferty-trained Love Struck has the worst draw and did not show in the SA Nursery or the Gold Medallion. He has no chance on that.
The Var gelding Sabadell is a speedy sort won his maiden very easily at his second outing. A Gr1 at Greyville is a million miles from a bread-and-butter race in Vereeniging, but Piere Strydom rides him and we know that legend Terrance Millard’s son-in-law doesn’t travel to KwaZulu-Natal to walk on the Durban beachfront.
Greg Ennion is happily avoiding the freezing Cape winter and enjoying a feature season to remember. He sends out Fred Crabbia’s Kahal gelding Shimmer And Shine from a poor draw. It is heartening though that crack heavyweight Bernard Fayd’herbe sticks with this one. His run when going down narrowly to the talented Trippi, Abercrombie, over 1200m at Kenilworth in mid-April, will be of interest to watchers of collateral form in the Cape.
Jeff Lloyd puts in a rare partnership with Corne Spies on the Protea winner, War Horse, who has the advantage of a 2 draw. He blotted his copybook when finishing downfield behind Soft Falling Rain in the SA Nursery though, and will have to pick himself up after that.
This is a difficult one to call with any confidence. Fly Me Over has that stamp of class and times don’t lie.He will enjoy the 1400m and could show us how good he really is. The undefeated Honorine ran on well under an apprentice to win over 1000m last time and showed that she may enjoy the extra. She also has Anthony Delpech aboard for the first time here.
The consistent Ottimo is always thereabouts, and had done little wrong prior to a slightly below par effort in the Gold Medallion. Felix Coetzee throws a leg over again.
Draws and natural improvement look the key. But we suggest Fly Me Over will be good enough to beat Honorine, with Ottimo and Ziparana fighting over the minor places.