The failure of the favourite and popular exotic banker Captain’s Lullaby at Kenilworth on Wednesday had punters in puzzlement. One needs to look rationally at the sequence of what we know happened, to ask the questions of a game that admittedly seems inordinately tough at times.
The Marshall stable won the second race on the card with the 14-1 outsider My Way.
In the post-race interview trainer Vaughan Marshall, when taxed on the chances of Captain’s Lullaby later on, said that he felt that the handicapper may have her wrong.
We read that as suggesting that her experienced trainer felt that she may have been overrated and was also not well in at the weights as a 3yo against some older horses.
The Captain Al filly drifted in the betting from 6-10 to jump at 12-10 for the sixth race, an MR 90 Handicap for fillies and mares over 1200m.
Captain’s Lullaby was never in the hunt and came under pressure early to run a dismal second last and 9,25 lengths off easy winner Lola Budd. Her worst run ever.
We approached the National Horseracing Authority’s Manager of Handicapping, Roger Smith, for a comment:
“ We as handicappers believe she confirmed her rating when a close up 3rd to Splendid Sun in an Open F & M Handicap on 17 October 2012. On Wednesday Captain’s Lullaby came under pressure in the last 300m and faded out. The vet reported that she was not striding out after the race. Her new rating is 93.”
The Stipes Report confirmed what Mr Smith had said:
CAPTAIN’S LULLABY (M J Byelveld) returned not striding out on the left hind. (Dr K Meiring)
So how does the punter on the ground feel?
When we woke up on Wednesday morning Captain’s Lullaby was the odds-on favourite.
She had run 6 times for 1 win and 5 places. She was one of only 2 3yo’s up against some older horses.
Captain’s Lullaby had gone twice second to the top-class Hammie’s Hooker in features and had run fourth in the Sophomore Sprint, when receiving 2,5kgs from the smart colt, Tevez.
Irrespective of the handicapper’s rating, the filly drifted in the betting but went on parade and ‘glided’ to the start in the words of the Tellytrack previewer.
She was, we can assume, striding out in the parade and on the way to the start, where the Vet and the trained public eye had viewed her and given her the stamp of approval.
If she only went wrong after the jump,which is very possible, is it pure coincidence that she drifted so badly in the betting?
Maybe it is. But then are the Stipes providing enough feedback and information?
We are really trying to stimulate thoughts of a system that should be more user friendly and display an overkill of information, rather than questions.
The afternoon thankfully produced a few highlights, and in the final race a Pick 6 knockout blow too.
And this was another horse who drifted – this time from 5-1 to 20-1.
The Glen Kotzen-trained 4yo gelding Queen’s Club jumped virtually unnoticed from a 15 from 15 draw in the final race, a Maiden Plate over a mile.
Young Grant Van Niekerk is riding with extreme confidence and composure and he somehow got the gelding over from his draw, and the result was never in doubt.
He kept galloping to beat a weak field by 2,25 lengths and his enthusiastic jockey said afterwards that he was ‘not stopping.’
Queen’s Club was purchased by Bruce Ferreira at the Michael Holmes Super Sale at the end of June from Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa for what looks a very shrewd and well-spent R 60 000. He was having his second run for the Kotzen yard after his debut run for Mike De Kock in March, when finishing unplaced.
A son of the Farnesio stallion Interprete, Queen’s Club was bred by Haras Clausan, who famously also bred the Breeders Cup Classic winner Invasor.
Invasor won the the 2005 Triple Crown in Uruguay and was later purchased by Sheik Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who paid around USD 1.4 million for the horse.
Invasor’s two biggest wins were the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Classic, in which he defeated heavily favored Bernardini and highly fancied Lava Man, and the 2007 Dubai World Cup, the world’s richest horse race. He finished racing with a record of 11-0-0 in twelve starts and career earnings of USD 7 804 070.
He was voted the Eclipse Award for American Horse of the Year and led the year-end World Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings in 2006.
Queen’s Club’s sire Interprete was a Champion 2yo and Champion Miler of 1991 and was unbeaten in his first five starts, including four Gr 1 Stakes, setting a New Course Record at Palermo in the G. P. Polla de Potrillos Gr 1 over a mile. .
He was Argentina ‘s Leading Freshman Sire of 1997 and has sired 33 Stakes winners
In 2003 & 2004 , Interprete was the leading Argentinian born sire and in 2004 finished fourth in the general standings.
Queen’s Club could well be the long-shot dark horse of the Cape’s Sizzling Summer Season.