Racing returns to the popular city venue of Greyville in KZN on Friday evening, after a break since Super Saturday at the end of last season. The R135 000 Listed Michaelmas Handicap will be run under the lights over 1900m, with the Frank Robinson trained Black Minnaloushe gelding Concatenation catching the eye as a progressive 4yo.
This Listed feature was run at Clairwood last year when won in fine style by Alec Laird’s Pessoa, and in 2011 was held at Greyville, when Yogas Govender’s Storm Sagaz scored something of a surprise win in a small field.
The Greyville track will be under the spotlight at this first meeting of the season,and with recent rain in the region, it will be interesting to see how the surface stands up.
This year’s Michaelmas sees a field of twelve that line up, with the classy Gr1 winner Gold Onyx heading the weights. Sean Tarry has a strong hand with his coupling of the 6yo geldings, Gold Onyx and Roman Wall. Gold Onyx ran on very nicely in his last start. He came through his field late to win, and was badly hampered by the waywardly talented One Cool Dude at a crucial stage of the race.
Gold Onyx was deservedly awarded that race and has earned his topweight, having paced it with the best. His poor Gold Cup run is probably best ignored as he did not appear to stay the journey. From a 1 draw her with S’manga Khumalo riding at the top of his game, he must have a bright chance.
His stablemate Roman Wall will be ridden by Anton Marcus, who travels to Cape Town early on Saturday morning for the Kenilworth meeting. Roman Wall won the East Coast Handicap earlier this year, but is solidly held by Gold Onyx on his last run. Assuming he needed that outing, it may be worthwhile ignoring the paper deduction and allowing for the Marcus plus factor.
A R2 million purchase, who has never fulfilled his purchasers’ dreams, Roman Wall is a horse that is just about impossible to find, and we will not be rushing out to put the house on his back.
What’s In A Name?
Concatenation, whose name incidentally means a ‘series of interconnected things’, has won three of his six starts and looks like a really promising galloper and potential serious racehorse in the making.
He races in the Jooste silks for Frank Robinson, and has done little wrong since making his debut over a too short Greyville 1200m in February of this year. Concatenation was an emphatic and facile winner of his last start when getting the better of Eminence Day by 3,75 lengths. That may have been a low key 1900m event where he beat nothing of note, but he gave weight to his field and won nicely.
He has plenty in his favour here. Well drawn and off a galloping weight of 52kgs, and with the enthusiastic Sean Veale in the saddle, Concatenation will be in the mix when it counts.
The Paul Lafferty trained Parker has drawn poorly at his first Greyville start. He had every chance last time when going down 4,75 lengths behind Air Patrol in an MR 94 Handicap at Clairwood over 1900m. Despite the urgings of Anton Marcus, he showed no extra in the finish, and that appears to be Parker’s downfall.
The former Snaith runner has won four races up to 2000m, and even has a win over the talented Disco Al (who runs in Sunday’s Gr3 Algoa Cup) to his credit. Anthony Delpech rode him at his penultimate start when his saddle slipped, and it is worth noting that he is back to partner him here.
Dennis Drier’s coupling of Top Mark and the exciting King Neptune, will have their supporters. King Neptune is probably the better form runner, and should enjoy the Greyville 1900m with his free galloping style of racing. He has also won at this track, and while a kilo worse off with Parker,who he beat by two lengths last time out, he comes in with a galloping weight.
Top Mark is 3kgs better off with Gold Onyx for a 2,40 length beating last time out, and is a dangerous frontrunner, who could pull off a surprise in a race of this nature.
Paul Gadsby trains the lightly raced Candy Moon and the staying type Kalmia. Both are 4yo’s. Candy Moon has drawn on the wide outside but enjoys the 2,5kg claim of apprentice Collen Storey. He has not run since 27 August, when running 2,85 lengths behind King Neptune. He meets the Drier runner on 5,5kgs better terms, so theoretically has the edge over him.
As a two time winner, Candy Moon still may need to prove that he is capable of matching strides in this class. Kalmia has won over 2000m and ran a nice fifth only 3,75 lengths behind Silvano’s Jet in the Derby. He looks more of a stayer and should lack the toe to go with this level at this track and trip.
Alec Forbes has declared a half kilo over on Joshuas Crown. The son of Joshua Dancer is consistent and meets the topweight Gold Onyx on 2kgs better terms for a 1,90 length beating over The Clairwood mile last time. Sage Throne ran unplaced in this race in 2011, and has not won a race since January 2012.
He is never far off them, but is another who lacks heart and commitment when it really counts, and cannot be fancied with any genuine confidence. It looks too short for the staying type Scoop The Pool, while Auto Pilot has moved from Charles Laird and changed hands. Now with James Goodman, he lacks commitment and appears out of his league here.
There are various angles in which this race can be approached. Go for the proven class of Gr1 winning Greyville specialist Gold Onyx, or the exciting scope and promise of Concatenation. In between we have the likes of King Neptune, and the difficult to catch, Roman Wall.
Delpech sticks with Parker, who appears to lack commitment when the chips are down. Tough, but the name of the game could be Concatenation.