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Pessoa on track for Summer Cup after emphatic Michaelmas victory

Gorgeous Grey! Pessoa and Stuart Randolph cruise home to win the Listed Michaelmas

The smart Go Deputy gelding Pessoa produced a sustained finish to record his fourth win on the trot when grabbing the spoils in the R125 000 Listed Michaelmas Handicap at Clairwood. In so doing, Alec Laird’s smashing grey probably converted his Sansui Summer Cup prospects from a subdued ‘cheeky’ to an above average ‘hopeful.’

Those were the words used by trainer Alec Laird in the post-race interview, when he admitted that Chris Gerber’s consistent gelding had ‘surprised’ him with his easy win, considering the company in this Listed feature. Laird also told us something that most of us will readily endorse – that winning was something one  ‘never got tired of.’

The Michaelmas Handicap headed the Clairwood midweek ten-race programme, and frankly the race felt quite out of place in its slot, although there were other top performances to brighten the afternoon. This included Dennis Drier’s two smart females, Beach Beauty and Var’s flying daughter,  Schiffer.

The Michaelmas field was reduced to eleven runners with the scratching of 2009 winner Danish Silver.

The stayer Posh Boy jumped well from the enthusiastic Pessoa while Kolkata and Roll Count followed. After 200m replacement rider Corne Orffer took the rested Roll Count up and he pinched five lengths to set a solid gallop which he maintained into the home straight.

At this stage Kolkata had moved up just ahead of Posh Boy, while Golden Parachute shaded the fancied Roman Wall about five lengths off the action.

Roll Count’s lack of match fitness told as he shortened his stride with Roman Wall and Pessoa looking menacing.

In a matter of strides Pessoa accelerated clear while Ice Diamond unleashed his challenge on the outside as Roman Wall stayed on without threatening.

Pessoa kept rolling to hold the favourite Roman Wall to 3,75 lengths in a time of 113,78secs. Roman Wall again disappointed his followers and he looks likely to retire with a rather average record.

The well backed Ice Diamond ran on steadily for third, while Corinne Bestel’s staying sort Sun City stayed on very well coming from stone last into the straight over a distance short of his best, grabbing fourth place ahead of a revitalised Lion In Winter. Sun City should enjoy the kinder KZN going and easier opposition in the months ahead, and could yet add to his winning total of 7 at ripe old age of 8.

The race went largely to form. The winner’s stablemate Roll Count, returning from a long rest, showed pace but tired and ran an 18,35 length last.

Picking his fights! Stuart Randolph has struck up a winning partnership with Pessoa

When taxed on how good Pessoa really is, jockey Stuart Randolph commented cautiously afterwards that it was great to win four in a row, and that they would ‘pick their fights’ going forward. Nice to see a jockey not getting ahead of the horse and himself!

If one considers that Pessoa likes to race handy and was stepping up in distance, then he came through the test with flying colours.

The winner, a R150 000 National Sale graduate,was bred by Paul and Lindi Garlicki who are based at Connemara Stud in the Cape. He is by Lammerskraal stallion Go Deputy out of the three-time winning Argentinian-bred Ringaro mare Printemp.

Pessoa took his stake earnings to R308 650 and has been something of a dream racehorse for his R150 000 price tag. He has now won 5 races and been placed 5 times from 12 runs. That’s great going and he doesn’t look finished yet.

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