Should there be an onus on trainers to send out horses reasonably fit or did the argument for barrier trials for horses returning from rests receive further impetus at Scottsville today? It was a tough afternoon for trainer Charles Laird who sent out horses that ran stone last in the fourth, fifth and sixth races.
The Laird horses were all returning from rests of sorts, but were all dead in the water in the final 300m of their races. An excuse was made for Indaba My Children, who had apparently injured his mouth. Stern Line (started 9-2 and ran off 63 day rest), Indaba My Children( started 15-10 and ran off 89 day rest) and Tennessee Strategy ( started 7-1 and 224 day rest) all ran dismal races.
In this information age, punters are well informed on paper of all the input required to make an intelligent informed assessment but the reality is that the actual state of fitness and readiness of any rested runner remains guesswork for those not in the know.
There were good things though on the sunny Scottsville Sunday afternoon.
Mike De Kock and stable jockey Anthony Delpech bagged a great double.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum’s 3yo Rock Of Gibraltar filly was an emphatically easy winner of the third race, a Maiden Plate over 1600m. Delpech brought her across from her wide draw and she tracked the pacemaking Campanologist before pouncing at the 300m. This was her second start after a good 1200m second on debut, and she looks a promising sort – although she beat little of note.
De Kock and Delpech were back in the winner’s box in the fifth race, a Graduation Plate over 1500m.
In a bizarre breakdown in communication in the build-up to this race, commentator Craig Peters made the observation that ‘Silver Age is back in the parade –ring’. We then made the assumption that the 12-1 shot was scratched and punters were left guessing as the field loaded. Not good enough and ultimately the tote loses out on refunds for bets – besides the backers of the fancied horses who faced deductions.
The winner here was the grey Go Deputy gelding Mozart’s Giovanni who caught the pacesetter Amber Orchid in the final strides to win going away. Mozart’s Giovanni has won 2 from 7 for 3 places and stakes of R111 000. He was bred by and races in the Lammerskraal silks out of the five-time winning Winter Serenade.
Legendary former Cape trainer Peter Kannemeyer preached many pearls of wisdom, and one of those life’s lessons for trainers was never to run two horses in a race that you expect to win. That is if one can avoid that scenario. This hoodoo came up to haunt punters and trainer Dennis Drier in the second race, a Maiden Plate run over 1000m. The stable sent out the way overdue 3-10 favourite Lord Al under Sean Cormack, but had to watch in horror as apprentice Keagan De Melo coaxed extra from the 12-1 shot Andreas, who was returning from a 58 day rest to score a surprise 1,25 length win.
Andreas cost just R65 000 at the National Two Year Old Sale and was bred by Rob and Michelle Pickering, whose lives were sadly devastated by a fire at their Middlefield Stud recently. The winner is by Lithuanian out of the one-time winning Count Dubois mare, Countess Andora.
The Alec Laird yard have been in great form in KZN and they celebrated a smart double with the Bosworth Farm-bred debutante Queen Of The Sky winning the first and Sidestep knocking Jackpot and Pick 6 punters in the sixth. Stuart Randolph rode both.
Queen Of The Sky is a daughter of Dynasty out of the Habub mare, Fly High and cost R350 000 on the National Two Year Old Sale.
Sidestep showed guts to win what looked like a too sharp MR 98 Handicap over 1000m, getting up to beat Cool Spender and the game 3yo My Jelly Bean. Jagerbomb and My Jelly Bean had shown good early pace.
Mike Miller and Corne Orffer closed the eight-race programme with the Scott Brothers –bred 25-1 shot Miesque’s Wonder winning the MR 68 Handicap over 1400m with a late flourish. The 4yo gelding was having his 15th run and has only previously won once and been placed once. He looks like he is maturing nicely and may be worth following