We would generally not be suggesting a one time winner as our selection to win a Gr2 race, but Gavin Van Zyl’s Shogunnar is way overdue to score a second career success and he is the choice to win Saturday’s R300 000 Gr2 Colorado King Stakes to be run over 2000m at Turffontein.
Older racing enthusiasts will relate to the legend of Colorado King, after whom this race is named. The son of Grand Rapids was bred by the Birch Bros at Vogel Vlei Stud and was trained by Syd Laird. He was a brilliant racehorse who registered his last win in the 1963 Durban July under the late Robbie Sivewright, when beating Speciality and Jerez.
There aren’t any of similar brilliance in what amounts to a rather disappointing eight horse field that goes to post for the Pick Six closer, and Sean Tarry’s numerical dominance of three horses aside, there don’t appear to be many capable of winning.
With the field competing at level weights, our focus shifts to the in form distance suited sorts at the top of the handicap. Gavin Van Zyl’s Solskjaer gelding Shogunnar must rank as one of the unluckiest, or disappointing, horses in training. That depends which pocket you are speaking out of.
He will be partnered by Karl Neisius, who had a miserable Classic Day by his own high standards the previous week, and will be looking to at least cover his return air ticket from Cape Town this time round.
The 4yo Shogunnar has run eleven times for one win, but has produced some excellent placed efforts in good company. After winning his maiden at his second start easing up over the Clairwood 1800m, he was considered good enough to be thrown into the deep end by the astute Van Zyl, who knows a good horse when he sees one.
He subsequently ran an excellent 3,25 length third to Jackson at level weights in the Daily News 2000, after hanging in late in the race. But disappointing efforts followed in the Gold Circle Derby and the Victory Moon Stakes, and it was six months before he stepped back into the limelight.
That was when he stopped the world in its tracks on 1 December last year, with a storming run at 66 to 1, when pipped by shock winner Wagner in the Summer Cup over Saturday’s track and trip.
Solid performances, that included two good seconds, followed at his next three starts, and he turns out on Saturday with his best chance ever to win a Gr2.
Shogunnar’s chief opposition is likely to be provided by Anton Marcus on Sean Tarry’s E-Jet, who is marginally held by the Van Zyl runner on their clash in the London News Stakes. In E-Jet’s favour is the fact that he has won 3 of his 12 starts, and he has also produced some big efforts when exposed to the serious competition in the past.
E-Jet ran wide at his last outing in a 1400m Conditions Plate, when staying on well for a solid third to the good sort, Galileo’s Destiny.The son of Jet Master should relish the extra ground on Saturday.
St John Gray’s Glorious Jet is the third of the Jet Master boys in the field, and he jumps from the 1 draw with Fanie Chambers in the irons. To say that this fellow has proven disappointing, would be to state the obvious.
Glorious Jet ran a flat race in the Drum Star three weeks ago, when finishing out of the money, but is marginally better off with Straw Market and Putney Flyer, and was staying on. He may enjoy the extra 200m here and deserves another chance as we are well aware that he is endowed with exceptional ability.
Putney Flyer left Darryl Hodgson’s Cape Town yard labelled a useful stayer, but almost upset the applecart at his first Gauteng jump when running on late for a second cheque behind General Sherman in the Listed Drum Star Handicap.
That was an excellent effort as he had come out of an unplaced run in the energy sapping 2800m J&B Reserve Stayers on Met Day, and it was considered to be over a distance short of his optimum trip.
Piere Strydom sticks with the Marwing inmate, who beat both Straw Market and Glorious Jet there. If that run was not a flash in the pan, then Putney Flyer could find himself in the action on Saturday.
Ormond Ferraris’ Straw Market is a consistent son of Windrush, who finished just behind Putney Flyer in the Drum Star, after running quite handily. He is a half kilo better off with Putney Flyer for a half length beating, and the extra 200m should be a leveller and erase that minor consideration entirely.
Straw Market is a winner of 4 of his 17 starts,and goes to post a very fit horse representing a bang in form trainer jockey combo. Spike Lerena’s Go Gold has lost form at his last two starts after showing good promise. He is held on his Drum Star run, and should not threaten the top three.
It looks very tough for Vertical Takeoff and Baracah.
The race should provide an interesting spectacle, where Shogunnar will be relying on a good pace to run at them late. E-Jet is versatile and a capable sort, who will have a say in things under Anton Marcus.
Putney Flyer and Straw Market are likely to chase them home. We are standing by Shogunnar to realise some of his potential at last, and win this.