It was Anton Marcus’ turn to hit the magical mark of a double century of winners at Scottsville on 14 July as he and arch-rival Anthony Delpech dominated affairs yet again sharing 75% of the winners on the low-key card.
It may be a bizarre alternative thought, but how good can this overwhelming stranglehold by these two riders be for horseracing as an entertainment and punting medium? And what about the morale and bank balances of their colleagues who regularly get jocked off after doing nothing much wrong. Who cares, you are probably thinking?
The for argument is a rather weak one as the ‘survival of the fittest’ maxim applies, and owners and trainers obviously want their horses to be given the very best earning chance. The cream always rises to the top, and nobody remembers who ran second. One does think though of the regular Port Elizabeth servants who have been jocked off their regular mounts tomorrow at Fairview in favour of the flash-in-the-pan title chasing visitors, who don’t really care too much about racing in those parts for the rest of the year. That said, it could be a godsend that they don’t patronise the Eastern Cape all year round as at least the lesser lights have a chance to earn their keep in the other 49 weeks. Whatever, It certainly adds needle and may get some folk rooting for the underdogs. Who would want to be an ‘ordinary’ jockey trying to compete against the top guys?
The powerfully built former jockey Dennis Bosch had the satisfaction of training the exacta in the first leg of the Pick Six, when his grey Dupont gelding Occhi Di Lupo scrambled home by 6.75 lengths in the maiden plate over 1000m. He provided Anton Marcus with the first leg of his winning double and he was whispered to be working up a storm at home and labelled as being ‘unbeatable.’ The track talk was spot-on target and, besides drifting from the middle to the outside of the track, he won in good time but beating little of note. His stablemate Designated Heir was right up with the pace all the way and looked to be fading right out of it at the 250m marker. He somehow managed to hang around long enough to snatch second from the supported outsider Special Henny, who had recently moved from the De Kock yard, and racing now for the Lunn family interests and veterinarian, Ralph Katzwinkel.
The brilliant sprinter Mythical Flight’s full sister, Lightning Bird, made her debut a winning one in the first, when Anthony Delpech kept her mind on matters to win the Maiden Juvenile Plate for fillies over 1000m by a comfortable 1,5 lengths. The R725 000 National Sale graduate looks obviously promising and while she has a long way to go to recoup her purchase price, she could do no more than win
Robbie Fradd scored his second win since his return to riding in this country, when he enjoyed an armchair ride on the obviously smart Requiem gelding, Kolkata, for Sean Tarry. It was a weak field that went to post in the MR 74 Handicap over 2600m, and Fradd took it easy throughout before pressing the launch button about 300m out. The result was never in doubt as he cruised home and Fradd’s soft hands flattered Lucky Star, who ran on to within 1,5 lengths of the winner. It was his third win from four starts and the Klawervlei bred looks destined for the top division in our weakest racing sector.
Bernard Fayd’Herbe has not had a great time of things since returning to South Africa, and after the controversy plaguing his Vodacom Durban July overweight ride on Bulsara, he had to travel all the way up the N3 to Pietermaritzburg for a blank day and three riding fees. His frustration may have showed in his ride on the Wright-trained Sparkle who went like the clappers in the MR 69 Handicap for fillies and mares over 1950m. She was fifteen lengths ahead at the 1000m marker, but wobbled as she hit the 300m marker and stopped to little. It was probably though the only realistic chance she had of beating the De Kock horse Gorongosa, who recorded her second win on the trot. The daughter of Montjeu cruised to a 3,75 length win, with Anthony Delpech declaring afterwards that he was not concerned at all by the tearaway Sparkle. He had won the maiden on the Wright horse, and obviously knew her limitations.
So the day ended with Delpech winning 4-2 and the scales tipping in his favour with the scoreboard clicking over to 206 – 200. What price a Wayne Agrella or MJ Byleveld treble at Fairview tomorrow?