The weather gods appeared to conjure up every conceivable trick in the book to consign the Fairview meeting on 2 September to the scrap-heap of the abandoned meeting record books. From collapsed starting stalls to damaged running rails, gail force winds and torrential rain threw the kitchen sink at them.
In the end, the meeting proceeded a little behind the original time schedule and only the last two races were lost to bad light. That was great going and everybody involved deserves a pat on the back. But are we really in spring?
Besides the natural dangers, clearly illustrated by the collapsing stalls and rails, the effect of a buffeting wind swirling through the gaps between the trackside buildings on tiring horses in the final 300m of races, is frighteningly obvious. Add to this the intermittent rain and the slippery going, and it is clear that it was a commendable effort by the jockeys.
Given the conditions, upset results were to be expected, but the day started on a bright note for backers of favourites when Karis Teetan rode the first of his two Yvette Bremner winners. The Hedley Mcgrath-owned Muhtafal gelding Frosty Magic took off late at his third career outing here to win the Maiden 1200m convincingly. The Summerhill bred is the first born of the Winter Romance mare Frosty Kiss and looks like he will go a mile.
The Teetan-Bremner combination were on the mark again in the fifth race, an MR78 Handicap over 1600m, when the 33-1 six year old gelding Royal Terrace flew up late to hold off Piere Strydom and Erfaan. The latter looked threatening for a long while down the inside rail. With the longshot Karlo confirming his recent improvement by running into third spot, the PA continued to gain momentum. Tania Salter owns the four time winning Royal Terrace, who never runs a bad race.
Felix Coetzee was stood down early and he gave up two winning rides in the process. The first of these was the Jallad gelding Eton Mess, who flew late under Avontuur-sponsored MJ Byleveld, to win the MR90 Handicap over 2000m. In a PA shocker he beat Colateral Form and the Spies-trained Campo De Santana. The latter particularly showed remarkable improvement and the likes of Spy Glass and Club Montreal were well beaten. Spy Glass was hard against the steel about 300m out with jockey Piere Strydom sitting dead still and even though he took a bump at the 250m marker, he already looked beaten. While not detracting from the winner, the general form of this race should possibly be taken with a bit of ice and water!
Alec Forbes deputised for Coetzee in the next race, an MR72 Handicap over 2000m, riding the fancied Malbec. After his lesser fancied stable companion Honour The Tiger had made the pace a fairly good one for a large part of the trip, Forbes forced Malbec into a challenging position close home, and he had to dig deep to beat the longshot, who showed great fight to hold on for second. He also had to survive a race review after the two horses appeared to touch late.The perennial place getting grey Grey Eagle earned his regular Friday wage and if ever a horse was due a second win it is this consistent Medaaly entire.
With time running out and the light fading fast, the Stipes wisely called an end to the day by abandoning the final two races. An eventful and entertaining day’s racing coming to an end with the sport an undoubted winner on the afternoon. Well done guys.