Everybody is entitled to an opinion, but sections of the racing media and even one or two Joe Public grandstand jockeys may owe a few retractions after In Writing’s resounding Gold Cup success on a memorable Super Saturday this past weekend. The race was a wonderful plan come together for two relatively young old men from Cape Town in trainer Dean Kannemeyer and jockey Felix Coetzee.
I must concede that I was one of the know-alls who lambasted the Cape jockeys who rode in the race that signalled In Writing’s resurgence. The date was 25 February this year and the Gr3 Chairman’s Cup at Kenilworth was In Writing’s return to blinkers. I looked at my notes on the race and ripped them up. I was wrong.
MJ Odendaal rode the Argentinian-bred that afternoon and he casually skipped around the field with 2400m to run and ran right away from his field to beat Komatipoort by 6,25 lengths.The eleven other jockeys were cursed and criticised – everything from being half asleep on the job to the ‘woner’ that was In Writing.
Afterwards there were the predictable usual conspiracy theories and finger pointing, but the gelding’s form since has belied all the nonsense that was spoken. And if anybody really wants to criticise jockeys generally, a viewing of the You -Tube Gold Cup jockey cam video may introduce some much needed new respect for the little men and their dangerous jobs.It may be found on the africanbettingclan.com under the heading ‘Gold Cup Jockey Cam’
Fair enough, they can be their own worst enemies at times with an arrogance and flash that hardly endear them to us green-eyed monsters, who coincidentally also harboured ideals of becoming jockeys and enjoying the perks of a half-day job with the big house, smart cars and regular overseas holidays to match. Never mind the celebrity reality of the fact that men buy you drinks and supper and women generally pander to your every whim. What a lot of bull!
But I digress and back to the wonderful horse. Since that balmy February day In Writing has done little wrong with his head-set and his new style of running up out front.
He came out after a break following the Chairman’s Cup win to score in a Pinnacle Stakes over 2500m at Clairwood.He then ran unplaced in a too-short prep run in the Greyville 1900 and was then very unlucky to be beaten 0,75 lengths by Seal in the Gold Vase after having his hand forced on the turn by a shrewd tactical move by Jeff Lloyd-which ultimately worked in Seal’s favour and didn’t help Lloyd at all.
I asked Dean Kannemeyer to explain the improvement: “ It was MJ Odendaal who suggested I take the blinkers off after he had ridden In Writing on Met day in the J&B Reserve Stayers. He said that the horse seemed sour and wasn’t really enjoying things and not trying particularly hard. He finished 13,05 lengths off Blake in that race. I had nothing to lose in essence and was happy to try the experiment. The results are there for all to see!”
Kannemeyer confirmed that In Writing had done a tendon and was rested for 18 months: “ We preach patience every day and it is something of a cliché. But it works and if the owner has the resources and the time, then it is worth taking a position on a horse with the natural ability of a fellow like In Writing. I know that these tendon recoveries don’t always work, but owner Karen Sellars has always had a soft spot for him and she did not hesitate to give him the time that he needed.”
He also added that fate had dealt a hand with owner Karen Sellars turning down an offer for the gelding from Mauritius fairly recently:” We had an offer on the table from the Indian Ocean Island and I put it to Karen Sellars. As I said previously, she has always had faith and belief in In Writing and said that she felt he might still have a contribution to make . Well Mauritius’ loss is our gain and I will happily enjoy the Gr1 win,” he said.
We don’t know if Karl Neisius had the choice, but his mount Blake has done little wrong and most of us would have rather ridden him than In Writing.
In the end Kannemeyer made the perfect jockey choice in the 53 year old Felix Coetzee, who has a penchant for riding horses who race prominently and scored a dramatic record-breaking 8th Gold Cup win . He rode an absolute cracker and it is thrilling to see an experienced successful jockey get that excited in the finish.
Let The River Run
Described as looking ‘rather jaded and tired and naturally a little stressed’ by Avontuur General Manager Pippa Mickleburgh, the magnificent bay daughter of ill-fated multiple champion sire Jet Master caused quite a stir of excitement amongst onlookers and personnel as she strode off the float.
Pippa said that she had settled in quickly and was enjoying her new found friends amongst the other maiden mares in the lush green paddocks, adding that ‘she was adjusting and learning how to be a horse once again.’
Most famously known as the legendary Pocket Power’s full sister, River Jetez is due to visit Avontuur sire sensation Var in 2012 and all the signs are there that she should make a cracking broodmare.
She has it all and this is one, thank goodness, that the South African breeding industry didn’t let get away!
River Jetez has the physical attributes, the blood, the heart and the raw ability as reflected so amply in her race record to succeed in the paddock. The former Mike Bass-trained mare left on an overseas campaign with Mike De Kock after running sixth behind Bold Silvano in the Vodacom Durban July.
And hers is one of the most hectic and busy campaigns of any previous South African racehorse.
She started out in Dubai where she ran three excellent races.
She opened her account with a third place behind Aspectoflove in the 1600m Darley Cape Verdi Stakes and then went on to win the 1800m Balanchine beating stablemate Reem. She then made her final appearance in Dubai when beaten 0,75 lengths into second behind Presvis in the Dubai Duty Free.
She then travelled to Hong Kong where she finished a close-up sixth behind Ambitious Dragon in the QE11 Cup. And then followed up three weeks later with an excellent second in the Gr1 Singapore Airlines International Cup behind Gitano Hernando.
River Jetez then ran fifth in the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket before travelling across the ocean to contest the Beverly D Stakes over 1900m at Arlington Park in Chicago. She was a fast-finishing third, just over a length behind the winner, Stacelita.
She had her last start in the Jebel Hatta at Meydan in March this year.
“This is great excitement for us all and a truly magnificent addition to our wonderful elite broodmare band and we look forward to her first foal in 2013 with much anticipation,” said Pippa.
Avontuur Stud have acquired an interest in River Jetez and original part owners Cedric and Barbara Amm, in whose bright yellow silks she campaigned, also retain a share.
Watch this space!