Keep supporting the Tote. And if there just happens to be the odd objection here or there, or some other mystery that rattles your emotional cage, just carry on regardless.
The customer is always right. Or is he left, or somewhere in between? Who really knows and who cares?
A pleasant Friday afternoon in front of the Tellytrack screen can be quite entertaining and costly, but Port Elizabeth racing is always interesting. Besides the Tellytrack production team confusing the Arlington meeting by posting the suggested PA perm as Fairview, the local on-course presentation was superbly down to earth and informative with new regular Gareth Pepper and former jockey, Gavin ‘Stick Man’ Venter complimenting each other like a horse and carriage. Venter’s outspoken and straightshooting educated observations are a perfect foil for Pepper’s retiring manner and the pairing of the two ‘Gees’ works well.
In fact we cannot recall one jockey, beyond perhaps the inimitable champion Garth Puller, who has made the graduation from the back of a horse to the front of a camera with any real success. Puller unfortunately is only utilised on some of the big days, but Venter as a regular is a source of valuable information and a winner for punters. He doesn’t ramble, is not self-conscious and has grown in stature over the few weeks. Hats off to whoever brought him on board.
But that Kranji ninth race objection had us baffled. The always eloquent and unflustered Jimmy Lithgow announced in studio that the objection had been overruled and “we have been unable to ascertain what it was all about.”
That is just not good enough and Tellytrack and Saftote need to explain this one. But let us understand it. We are encouraged to punt on a product beamed from a destination most of us have no personal proof that actually exists, on races that may be live or recorded-and to top it all, the results that we witness are subject to meddling by phantom authorities with absolutely no explanation and a malicious absence of communication. Attractive it sounds not. Caveat emptor!
The afternoon’s local racing was competitive with Richard Fourie showing a welcome return to his better form by riding a 70-1 double in the sixth and eighth races. He piloted Frosty Magic for Yvette Bremner in a speedy looking MR86 Handicap over 1000m. Bremner sent out a three-way coupling that included the 28-10 favourite South Dakota who ran his usual game race to run a narrow second. The winner, a Summerhill Stud-bred son of Muhtafal, was recording his third from eight starts and looks very talented and a smart improving three year old.
Fourie then rode a smashing race in the final race on the Hekkie Strydom trained Dynasty mare, Jubilante. The MR73 Handicap over 1400m looked a race in two between Big Daddy and Mangaliso and the Jacques Strydom gelding Derbaas scooted off to lead and set a brisk gallop.Fourie always had the mare within striking distance and he sent her with 350m to go and she got away to win well from the improved Solar Charged and a low-flying Fifty Scent.The winner left Piet Steyn’s Cape Town yard as a moderate maiden and has now won her third race. The win against some talented males was full of merit.
Muzi Yeni deserves all the credit for squeezing a second win out of the Grant Paddock-trained Grey Eagle. The entire recorded his only previous win – courtesy of an objection – at Durbanville over 2400m in September 2009 when beating a mediocre crew. Twenty-six runs later he finally put it all together courtesy of a bustling wide-awake ride by Yeni, who had him much closer to the action than usual and then catapulted him clear at the top of the straight. He is the kind of horse that, not surprisingly, has flown below the Merit Rating radar and he will pay to follow over ground.
Yeni and Paddock went from a high to a grinding crash in the very next race when the stable confidence and money missed the target completely. The recent KZN import Fort Willow was backed to 19-10 and tipped as a Pick Six banker with some confidence. His biggest threat was Murphy’s Magic who started at 28-10. But neither found a place and the PA jumped from a minimum of R1-10 in the first leg to R6-80 after this Maiden Plate over 1800m. A rather moderate bunch of eight horses was cleverly led by Sandile Kathi on the least fancied of the Gavin Smith trio, Bustopher Jones. The gelded son of Tiger Dance improved out of his skin to lead all the way and earn the first cheque of his five run career. Smith also trained the second horse Spartan , while the filly Bold Opera ran third – her third cheque from a moderate twenty start career. What a strange race and the form should be taken with a pinch of salt.
The legendary voice of PE racing, Alan ‘Bumpie’ Schoeman celebrated his 53rd birthday today. The Sporting Post wishes him good health and happiness in the year ahead.