Vodacom Durban July supplementary entry Mr Winsome gets his opportunity to put the ribbon on his big race berth when he takes on eight rivals in Sunday’s R300 000 Gr3 Track & Ball Derby.
Yes, he is a 4yo and yes, this is a Derby!
Love it or hate it, the former 3yo classic was converted to an open weight-for-age affair with penalties for graded race performances a few years ago.
With the July selection panel sitting down to make some tough choices just 24 hours later, Dean Kannemeyer will be keen to get a big effort out of the consistent Mr Winsome, to confirm his undeniable claims to a July number. Supremely consistent, Mr Winsome sent his first serious signal when a cracking dead-heat third with Investec Cape Derby winner It’s My Turn in the Betting World 1900. That was a top effort! Over a distance short of his best, Mr Winsome overcame a bad draw after losing two 2 lengths at the start, was baulked for a run and then bobbed and weaved his way through traffic to dead-heat for 3rd with It’s My Turn.
He runs at level weights with the Jet Master gelding Helderberg Blue who could well hold the record – together with Ovidio – as the oldest horse to run in a Derby. The Candice Bass-Robinson-trained 6yo has not won a race since November 2014, but his recent form suggests that he may be ready to record a fifth career success. He ran on well for second behind Saturday’s Gr3 Cup Trial winner Elsuive Silva in the Sledgehammer after a three month break and Anton Marcus could be the tonic from the 1 draw.
The topweighted Ovidio is a seasoned and capable stayer. He ran a very quiet race on his return from a three month break when 9,35 lengths off Krambambuli in the Highland Night Cup. In his defence, a slipped saddle could have accounted for that showing and he cannot be discounted at best.
Three Balloons ran third in this race last year, but his recent flat effort behind Captain Splendid in the Lonsdale was hardly stirring stuff. The 5yo son of Judpot has his third run after a dull effort on Met day and needs to show improvement.
Justin Snaith sends out the Lonsdale Stirrup Cup winner Captain Splendid, who improved dramatically to win last time under a vintage Piere Strydom. Snaith was questioned regarding the improved performance of the son of Captain Al compared to his previous performance. An explanation was tendered that in his opinion he had raced him too soon after having arrived in Durban from Cape Town and that this had accounted for the poor performance.
The 5yo Sun On Africa won on the Greyville polytrack last time – his first victory in close on a year and is another who stays well.He ran a fair third in the Highland Night Cup prior to that, but a fitter Ovidio should finish closer to him.
Gauteng visitor Let It Rain ran a cracker last time to win over the Turffontein 2450m and the beautifully bred son of Dynasty may prove a dangerous customer at his first visit to Scottsville. A fast improving 4yo, he stays well and must be a major runner.
Mr Winsome stablemate Mr O’Neill is the second of the Kannemeyer runners and one of only two 3yo’s in the race. He ran a fair fifth in the Lonsdale when fifth and 2 lengths behind Captain Splendid, whom he meets on a half kilo worse terms. He was all over the place there and with a stronger rider could be a different proposition.
Techno Captain is the second of the pukka classic contenders in the race. The son of Captain Al ran a fair prep when staying on for third to The Slade a fortnight back and has demonstrated decent stamina when tested.
It could be close call between Helderberg Blue and Mr Winsome.
The latter is the more youthful and better behaved of the two. His form is very predictable and he could cruise into the July off a good showing.