KwaZulu-Natal trainer Kumaran Naidoo celebrated a terrific trifecta when he sent out the top three finishers in Saturday’s R150 000 Listed Hampton Handicap run over the 1000mon the Vaal sand. The 7yo Be Assured rocked the boat on a weather interrupted afternoon, with a gutsy win at 33-1 from the 6-1 Cape Winter and Furious Dancer.
This feature landed up taking pride of place on the Vaal’s big day, with the dramatic postponement of the Gr2 Emerald Cup just an hour later due to a hailstorm.And the contest was hardly lacking in terms of pure entertainment as a racing spectacle.
Trainer Naidoo delivered a classic lesson in how racetrack performance can change perceptions in under a minute. He will no doubt be the toast of his colleagues in the holiday province, and there is hope that a few others will get behind the wheel of their floats and venture into unchartered territory to take on the big guns. He after all humbled the likes of names like De Kock, Bass, Matchett,Goosen and Peter.
Naidoo’s four -way coupling would have been an automatic inclusion in terms of pure numbers for many Pick 6 players, but the preference was definitely for the runner-up Cape Winter.
The betting market was generally tepid and once again punters stuck loyally with Mike De Kock’s light of other days, Link Man. The son of Toreador, who had not run for four months, eventually went off a weak 4-1 favourite and as the official tote favourite. The grey gelding finished 9,75 lengths behind the winner. He has pushed loyalties and promises to the limit and may now have run out of chances.
But it was Kumaran Naidoo’s race to savour in all respects, and for his sentimental and loyal fan club, a rather healthy stable trifecta tote dividend of R2349.
Paul Matchett’s fast Kahal mare Mannequin was the early pacesetter followed closely by Furious Dancer, Kwaaiwater and Renegade. Halfway to home, Piere Strydom moved the old man Renegade up with El Cielo, Ruby King and Kwaaiwater all in with a shout.
The race changed quite dramatically in the final 200m, as the stablemates Cape Winter and Be Assured came together to do battle. Derreck David rode a balanced and powerful finish to get his mount up to win a tight call. Furious Dancer ran on well for third, just ahead of the longshot Benbow who stayed on smartly.
Be Assured won by a head in a time of 57,11 secs, with Mannequin, Kwaaiwater and Renegade all fading out after showing good pace. The favourite Link Man, as already observed, was a big disappointment for his followers.
This race also represented an unlikely milestone for a quiet visitor .
It was a very first ever ride on the Vaal sand in a close to forty year career for veteran Cape jockey Karl Neisius, who partnered Kiss Again for the Mike Bass yard. It was one Neisius will want to forget as his mount ran stone last.
The 33-1 winner Be Assured was bred by Mrs M A Filmer and was a second stakes winner for his sire Woodborough. He is out of the twice-winning Northern Drive mare, Rose Of My Heart. The latter is also the dam of the evergreen ten-time winning 11yo Grafton Street, who races for Mrs Filmer out of the Mike Stewart yard in Noordhoek, Cape Town.
Woodman stallion Woodborough stands at Mike McHardy’s Rathmor Stud in Nottingham Road KZN. They ask just R5000 live foal fee, but he does not have too many runners on our tracks these days. He produced a very talented previous stakes winner in the Gr3 Champions Challenge winner Thandolwami,who may have retired recently. He was trained by Craig Eudey at Summerveld.
The 7yo Be Assured cost R160 000 in his year at the National Yearling Sales, and took his career stake earnings with this victory to R438 200. Be Assured was recording his sixth win and twelfth place from 27 starts.
He is a versatile and enthusiastic gelding and has registered four of his six wins on the turf.Well done again to the Naidoo team on a job well done.