Doug Campbell’s Kingston Boy returns to his hometown after a game third in the Gr2 Joburg Merchants in November. The son of Mogok could get back to winning ways in the R120 000 Marula Sprint to be run over 1200m at Clairwood on Sunday over a course and distance that he is proven.
This non black type feature has attracted a small field of nine, but it is a race that has the classic open stamp about it. Eight of the nine runners have realistic winning chances, and most are proven sprinters that enjoy the Clairwood straight.
A Good Boy
The up and coming KZN based sprinter Kingston Boy had won 5 of his 18 starts when he ventured onto the road to Johannesburg for a tilt at the Gr2 Merchants. He showed good pace and stayed on well to finish just 3,50 lengths behind the talented Here Comes Billy at level weights. Kingston Boy showed there that he was not out of his depth at the top level, and he meets weaker here. He won three starts on the trot in emphatic style before going to Johannesburg and has certainly come into his own as a 4yo.
Garth Puller has done wonders with the 4yo Captain Al gelding Midnight Run. He got up to beat the smart Hard Rock over the course and distance at his last start and beat both Island Fiesta (2,35 lengths) and Piano Man (4,70 lengths) there. Midnight Run is the very personification of consistency and will be ridden by his regular pilot, Athandiwe Mgudlwa, who knows him better than anybody else.
James Goodman’s Piano Man is 2kgs better off thanks to the apprentice allowance but is a slightly in and out course and distance winner who looks capable of causing an upset.
Wendy Whitehead’s coupling of Coffee Sheik and Island Fiesta are both capable of winning a race of this nature. The topweight Coffee Sheik returns to action from a 15 week break but the seven time winner has shown himself to be a horse capable of bouncing back fresh. He will be ridden by the very in form Sean Cormack.
His stablemate Island Fiesta is a relatively lightly campaigned 4yo who has won 4 from 14. He beat Flyfirstclass last time and is a half kilo worse off for that narrow win. There should be little to choose between the two. Michael Roberts enjoyed his annual raceday at Scottsville last Sunday and he saddles the gallant Tamburlaine gelding, Mike’s Choice.
It was inevitable that this old soldier would win again and he bounced back to best when overhauling Piano Man last time out over the Clairwood 1000m. He is now 2kgs worse off with the Goodman runner , but has a nice turnaround with Kingston Boy on an earlier meeting to make him more than a little competitive if he comes racing in the right mood.
Anton Marcus takes the ride on Charles Laird’s Rio Carnival who returns after a 68 weeks rest. The son of Hussonet is a high quality sprinter who won 3 of his first 7 starts before appearing to go off the boil. The betting may be the best guide as to his fitness.
Flyfirstclass and Cotswold are in under sufferance and look unlikely winners. Craig Eudey’s Flyfirstclass has not quite yet realised his promise and the expectations of his connections. A winner of 2 of his 9 starts, the son of Kahal did show some fair enthusiasm after gelding when charging through to be beaten a quarter length by Island Fiesta over the Scottsville 1200m last time.
He meets his conqueror on a half kilo worse terms as we observed earlier and will have to improve again to have a chance of winning this. Chris Erasmus’ Cotswold is a gallant mare who normally puts her best foot forward. She has won 4 of her 29 starts but now steps out against the males and looks to have a very tough battle here.
Kingston Boy has the stamp of a very smart horse and a touch of class that could swing things his way. He will be ridden by the wily Kevin Shea who will optimise any advantages to his benefit. The one question mark must be fitness after a break of eight weeks, but that could have been the tonic that he required to freshen him up after a tough race in Johannesburg. Midnight Run and Island Fiesta could chase him home, but the race is open and caution should be exercised.