Trainer Dean Kannemeyer trained stallion Dynasty to win the 2003 Vodacom Durban July and he has been one of the foremost supporters of the progeny of the top-class stallion. It was thus fitting that he made it two Woolavington Handicap wins on the trot when the very promising 4yo colt Taipan made short work of his five rivals to win the feature on Saturday.
Kannemeyer’s top stayer Blake won this race last year, and he looks to have an even more scopy and versatile talent on his hands in Taipan, who built smartly on his excellent Matchem Stakes pipe-opener to get his Summer campaign well and truly on track.
The withdrawal during the week of the two topweights In Writing and Hospitality meant that a disappointing total of six horses went to post for the R125 000 Listed Woolavington Handicap
And punters were quick to latch on to the fact that the potential tactical face of the race had altered dramatically with the withdrawal of the almost guaranteed pacemaker Hospitality. It was hardly surprising in the end that the betting market was rather nervous beyond Taipan and the leading duties were left to the two lightweights, Gianduja and Putney Flyer, who reluctantly carted the small bunch along for most of the trip.
They led the bunch the whole way around with Jeppe’s Reef in third a half length in front of Punta Arenas and Why Worry, while Taipan was content to lob along at the rear.
Turning for home Felix Coetzee produced the Winter Derby winner Punta Arenas as Putney Flyer kicked on and looked dangerous. Punta Arenas continued to roll as Karl Neisius produced the 17-10 favourite Taipan down the outside and he paced it with a game Punta Arenas, before asserting himself in the final 50m to win going away.
There were no major disappointiments, with only 4,60 lengths separating the whole field, with Taipan winning by a comfortable 0,75 lengths in a time of 151,80 secs.
The winner is out of the Hermitage mare, Fairy Footprints.
The Milkwood Stud-bred Taipan has now won 4 of his eleven career starts with 6 places to his credit.
His gross stake earnings climbed to R278 235 and he looks well set to surpass his R350 000 National Two Year Old Sale price tag.
Whether Taipan has the natural speed to go with the better contenders in the J&B Met will be the subject of some speculation. At this point he certainly looks on track for greater things.
- Mike Bass’ What A Winter bounced back to his winning ways with a smart run in the Woolavington curtain-raiser, an Old Mutual Pinnacle Stakes run over 1100m.
Sent off favourite at 7-20, the son of Western Winter ran on strongly from his 1 draw to peg back the powerful front-runner Cap Alright.
The winning margin of half-length flattered the runner-up, as Bernard Fayd’Herbe eased up on the winner a good few strides before the line.
What A Winter has now won 10 races from 19 starts for stake earnings of R1 932 713.
The Cape summer sprint features look well within his sights.