His record speaks for itself, but the impact of the tragic recent early demise of multiple champion stallion Jet Master cannot be underestimated. He sired three winners at Kenilworth on 28 December and demonstrated again that he is going to be sorely missed.
The passing of Jet Master will go down as one of the lowpoints of 2011 for South African horseracing and at this stage the industry awaits a successor to his throne.
The beautiful but delinquent grey Imperial Fox once again pulled his bad behaviour stunts at the start of the MR90 Handicap. The mile race, the afternoon’s top-liner in terms of its stakes and rating, attracted a competitive field that included the R2,1 million purchase Target Acquired and the dual Gr3 winner Brilliant Cut. The latter is quite a phenomenon as he has not won a race since reeling off the Nursery and Langerman double in mid 2010. Mind you, the horse that ran second to him in the Nursery, Jack Hobbs, only won his second race last night at Greyville!
Great Kalli made it three wins on the day for Jet Master when he led all the way under a masterful Glen Hatt ride to record his fifth win from 28 starts. There are fewer more gallant and resolute gallopers than Willempie Engelbrecht’s gelding and his consistency is a tribute to the old-fashioned value and experience of trainer Alan Higgins.
Brilliant Cut flew late but will have to wait another day to record his fifth win, while Lancelin stayed on well under topweight to maintain his consistent formline. Gianduja ran stone last and after Cupid’s Kiss and Dollar Bill Blues, completed a day where trainer Paddy Kruyer would probably have hoped to have rather stayed in bed than travelled to the Southern Suburbs for racing.
Glen Kotzen trained his first ever winner for powerhouse owner Hassen Adams when Sean Cormack extracted a resolute finish out of the smart looking and well supported Leisure Jet, who won his debut in the opener of the day, a Maiden Plate over 1200m, at generous odds of 28-10. It was a particularly commendable effort from a bull of a colt who was on the big side, underdone and not really expected to win it. He was also drawn on the wrong side of the track but was always lurking in the shadows to strike late and win a smart race. It is probably best that we don’t get too excited as two battling maidens in Colorado Ski and Wing And A Prayer finished right on top of the winner. But the difference is that Leisure Jet will improve lengths on this effort. The fancied Gold Eclipse ran unplaced under Karl Neisius in his second run after a rest.
Yogas Govender’s Dance For Gold is developing into a rather expensive filly to follow and ran her third second place in a row in the Maiden Plate over 1400m. Bernard Fayd’Herbe gave the odds-on chance every opportunity and she moved forward hard against the steel about 300m out – only to be outrun late and beaten conclusively by, with all due respect, a real battler in the Mellifont four year old Kind Lady. The Riaan Van Reenen charge was having an almost unbelievable 54th run today
Deceased champion stallion Jet Master recorded his second winner of the afternoon when Brett Crawford’s classy Thunder Dance made hacks of her five opponents in the Fillies and Mares Graduation Plate over a mile. Bernard Fayd’Herbe provided the favourite with a perfect lead on the 33-1 outsider Bella Nero, but it was race over at the 250m marker as the daughter of Fillies Guineas winner Shadow Dancing skipped away to win easily. Bewilderingly for punters, the 3-10 Thunder Dance paid 6-10 on the totalisator for a place and 5-10 the win. That is a frustrating anomaly and while Tellytrack’s Shaheen Shaw correctly urged punters to ‘watch the monitors’, the subtle changes in dividends as they jump, make this something of an impractical solution. Good luck though to those who managed to collect the handsome tote dividends!
Joey Ramsden’s well-bred blinker strike Admiralofthefleet was claimed in the betting and came home a convincing winner in a rather weak jackpot opener, a Maiden Plate over a mile. Bernard Fayd’Herbe tried to dictate matters out front on the interestingly named Shoes ‘N Company, but the Govender yard is not quite as on song as they were a month ago, and Glen Hatt steered the Ramsden Jooste gelding to win easily. Karis Teetan had the fancied Dollar Bill Blues in a hopeless position turning for home and the son of Eyeofthetiger ran on when the race was all over for fourth.
Veteran jockey Karl Neisius tried to set a sedate pace to suit himself on the favourite Solar Captain in the MR78 Handicap over a mile but Felix Coetzee was having none of it and sent Gin And Tonic out to lead as the field went around the turn. Coetzee’s move spelt the death knell for Neisius’ ride and it was D’Angelo who skipped clear at the 200m marker to win easing up. The gelded Doowaley has won two of thirteen and Cape Town-based Richard Berg’sdecision to move Provinces as a maiden from Duncan Howells to Dean Kannemeyer in August this year has been a positive one. The blinkers have certainly helped the consistent D Cohen & Sons bred and he has now surpassed his R90 000 Vintage price tag.
Phillipi trainer Stephen Page has had a rather miserable run of late, although his Two Strikes bucked that trend and ran a good race in the Cape Summer Stayers on Saturday. Page trained a nice exacta when Palo Santo beat stablemate Real Tabasco in the MR70 Handicap for Fillies and Mares- a minefield of a sprint over the minimum trip. Richard Fourie rode the winner for Maine Chance Farms.
Chris Puller rode a terrific race to poach the final event of the day for the Greg Ennion-Fred Crabbia combination on the Australian-bred Military Maiden. Bernard Fayd’Herbe once again rode a pacemaking race on the Bruss-trained Master Copy while Puller tracked the leader all the way around. With 300m to run, the Bruss filly fell in a hole and Puller grabbed a decisive two length lead. He maintained this all the way home, despite Karl Neisius’ late lunge on the fancied Daily Flight. It’s Exciting caught the eye in third after turning for home in last position and should not be long in the maiden ranks.