A quiet weekend on the home front with an MR 104 Handicap over 1200m at Fairview on Friday offering an intriguing contest with some rather well-tried but quality sorts staking their claims. Two top stables hold the key to the possible outcome, and we rate Yvette Bremner’s Take Over Target as the likely spoiler of the Snaith party.
Legendary KwaZulu-Natal racing administrator and breeder Chris Saunders inevitably names his equine produce with three words and has enjoyed much success on the track over many decades.
One wonders what exactly is in a name and what Mr Saunders intended , if and when he named Copperbelt’s son Take Over Target. We may never know, but the brave and optimistic baptism has not worked out half badly for the capable eight-time winner who races in Port Elizabeth these days, after a fairly illustrious career with Tony Rivalland in KZN.
The almost mythical tale of his Australian namesake Takeover Target is, after all, the stuff of Hollywood movies. The top sprinter owned and trained by New South Wales taxi driver Joe Janiak won all over Australia, as well as at Royal Ascot, Japan and Singapore. The horse that cost the approximate equivalent of R10 000,was to earn almost R50 million in stakes. That’s probably a good enough reason to give up driving taxis, no matter what currency you’re earning.
But back to planet earth and the Eastern Cape on a month-end Friday, where twelve runners go to post in the headliner on a well-packed eight race programme.
The Justin Snaith and Yvette Bremner yards collectively send out half the field and they look to hold all the aces.
Take Over Target is a very capable sprinting sort on his day and the chestnut has won twice over the course and distance in just five outings since his move down the east coast of Africa in what is the twilight years of his career. Yvette Bremner’s stable jockey Karis Teetan would, we assume, have had the choice of her three rides here, and he gets aboard after having won on him in an MR 90 Handicap over 1200m at Arlington on 6 August. Teetan knows all three Bremner runners well and has no weight issues to consider.
Take Over Target drew off impressively there to beat the likes of Russian Mig(1,25 lengths) , Act Of Supremeacy(1,6 lengths) and Finance Minister(6,25 lengths), all of whom he meets here again. The son of Copperbelt carries 5,5kgs less and all three of those that finished behind him are better off at the weights here. Finance Minister is 6kgs better off for a 6,25 length beating but he appears unsound and unlikely to threaten.
Celtic Fire is another really good horse on his day. This classy twelve-time winner appears held though by the Snaith’s Bois De Var on his last run when running wide and fading over the Arlington 1300m. He did meet Bois De Var over this course and distance at his previous run though and was beaten just 4 lengths. He is two kgs better off here and the form is rather muddling.
There is little doubt that Bois De Var will prove the more reliable campaigner over the trip.
The third of the Bremner runners, Blaze Of Fire, returns from a 110 day rest and gets the services of 4kg qualifier Stallone Naidoo. He should be outpaced and may need it.
Snaith’s Bois De Var is a huge runner on his best form and has the services of the world-class Felix Coetzee to add value. He won three on the trot over the course and distance and may have found the Arlington 1300m a touch trying from his midfield gate when staying on a little one paced for fourth at his last start. This is far more his game and we can see him bouncing well and leading from gun to tape.
Icemberg provides more than adequate back-up fire for Snaith. The Argentinian import has been a model of consistency for over a year now and ran a cracker last time over 1000m when going down 1,25 lengths at level weights to the very talented Three Captains. His last win was recorded over the course and distance when carrying 62kgs to beat Bandol. Granted that was way back on 30 December, but he has been thereabouts ever since.
The six year old grey son of Spectrum Apolo Grey has won over the course and distance but probably prefers the 1000m at Arlington to show his best. He is another who enjoys a 4kg claimer and this brings him into the reckoning.
Hekkie Strydom’s coupling of talented 4yo’s Russian Mig and Act Of Supremeacy are both worth considering.
The Qui Danzig gelding Russian Mig appears best suited to this trip and comes in on a handy 50,5kgs courtesy of apprentice Teague Gould. He has an electrifying turn of foot and meets Take Over Target on 2kgs better than list time when he was beaten 1,25 lengths. Russian Mig has youth and scope on his side and if ridden properly by the capable Gould, he could go close.
Act Of Supremeacyis 1,5kgs worse off with Take Over Target in that same race when beaten 1,6 lengths and is a son of Badger’s Drift who is probably at his best over a mile plus. He is highly rated by his wily trainer who is one of the best judges of horseflesh in this centre. He could well run into the place money as he won’t be stopping when the whips are cracking.
The 8yo Mogok gelding Tomcat appears to have lost some of the lustre of his six win romp that commenced in November last year and lasted five months. He loves the course and distance but both Bois De Var and Icemberg appear to have his measure on the strength of their meeting
The rest look unlikely to threaten. This includes the Alan Greeff coupling of the seven-time winning Finance Minister, who is 6kgs better off for a 6,25 length beating by Takeover Target but appears unsound and unlikely to threaten and the eight-time winner Golden Luci. Neither run in alumites and both have lost form recently.
Gavin Smith’s Day Of The Piper has been around forever and is now nine years old. He returns from a 105 day rest and is another who has lost his form and would probably also prefer further to show his best.
It is not a cut and dried affair by any means, but Take Over Target and Bois De Var look the right two and could be all set for an interesting strategic battle and shootout over the final stages.
If Felix Coetzee gets Bois De Var to edge ahead he is unlikely to stop galloping and Teetan could be facing a mountain to climb in those final 200m.
Icemberg is also very capable, as is the interesting younger Strydom horse Russian Mig, who flies late. That is, especially if the pace is on – which it will be.