Tradition and history have been cast to the wind with the new look R400 000 Gr2 Betting World Stakes taking the place of the longstanding KZN Derby at Clairwood on Sunday. The distance of the race has been increased to 2500m and the jury will be out as to whether the all ages innovation will have the desired effect.
And then there’s the matter of a decent pace too!
The pace, or lack of it, was a major factor in the outcome of the Clairwood features last weekend and we are hopeful that the same games will not be played out again by the jockeys, with false results from the 600m sprints down the home straight, an inevitable reality.
The small field in this feature and the absence of an obvious pacemaker may indicate that we could see a recurrence.
Ticket To Ride
Only one 3yo has turned up to face eight older horses in the longest weight for age race in the country, with Dean Kannemeyer’s Hot Ticket the highest rated runner at 108 and Yogas Govender’s New Zealand bred 3yo on the other end of the scale on the 80 mark. Last year a field of 13 3yo’s ran with an MR range of 95 down to 73.
Three of the class of 2013 are back to have another bash and one of those has gone on smartly with his career and stands out as our highest rated selection. The Silvano gelding Hot Ticket has matured into a consistent and model stayer since an unlucky loser to Silvano’s Jet last year, when traffic problems stinted his late dash for glory.
The form strength was endorsed when the winner went on next next to finish a cracking second and 1,50 lengths behind Jackson in the Champions Cup.
Hot Ticket has won two of his eight outings in the ensuing year. These included a smart victory over 2013 Gold Cup winner Jeppe’s Reef in the Gr3 Chairman’s Cup and win over the in and out Cigar Boy in the Listed Woolavington.
He also managed an excellent running on fourth behind the now retired champion Master Of My Fate in the Gr2 Premier Trophy. He was given a prep run in the Gr2 Betting World 1900 and the connections were very satisfied with his running on effort just under 7 lengths behind Espumanti.
He looks to be a fit horse and has had an excellent build up. Well in at the weights, he looks the horse to beat.
Vaughan Marshall’s Tribal Dance finished 4,40 lengths ahead of Hot Ticket (now a half kilo better off) in the Betting World 1900 and the 2012 East Cape Derby and Schweppes 2200 winner stays well.
He was only a half length behind King Of Pain in the Magnum Mile in February after showing pace and is a horse who could go up and make the running if the pace is tardy.
But the scales are tilted by virtue of the fact that the son of Tiger Dance may have reached his ceiling in terms of improvement, while the year younger Hot Ticket is still getting better.
De Dock Duo
Mike De Kock saddles a coupling of Canterbury Tale and Kindle. Both come off long rests. The former may be the stable elect and had good form before suffering an epistaxis and being slapped with a three month suspension at his last start.
The son of Greys Inn has been rested 32 weeks and has good course and distance form as well as a commendable third placing in the Gold Cup last year to his credit.
The Fort Wood gelding Kindle ran in the same race as Canterbury Tale last time and is a lightly raced sort who has won 3 from 10 starts.
He won the Listed Java Handicap at his penultimate start and was even a Summer Cup hopeful before the 2014 Gold Cup was nominated as his then long term target.
Go For Gain
Anton Marcus and the high riding ‘King Of Pain’ Joey Ramsden team up with the Captain Al gelding Disco Al, who stays well and ran a nice race at his KZN Champions Season opener.
He stayed on nicely in the Betting World 1900 Consolation for a 1,65 length fourth to Futura, over a distance that would have been considered short of his premium trip. It still looks tough for him here at the weights.
Great Rumpus ran downfield and 7,25 lengths behind in the Derby last year, but has won two smart races in the interim and finished only 3,10 lengths behind Wild One in the Lonsdale.
His connections have aborted his July aspirations but he must be a place prospect on best form. Duncan Howells’ Dynasty grey Beewithmee is consistent and always thereabouts in the staying races.
The in form Kevin Shea is in the saddle but the 4yo looks to have it tough at the level weight terms and may prefer the handicaps in which he has been competing.
Yogas Govender bravely comes to town with his beautiful New Zealand bred 3yo, French Revolution. A lightly raced winner of two of his six starts, he tries the 2500m for the first time but looks like he will enjoy the test. His group winning sire won from 1200m to 1900m and was a $300 000 yearling son of Montjeu.
Guillotine is out of the Spinning World mare Three Auld Hussie, whose only two foals to race are group winners. Weiho Marwing’s Sky Rise ran 21,25 lengths behind in last year’s Derby and is battling to regain his form recently. He should battle.
Hot Ticket and Tribal Dance look the right two and are selected to fight it out. If there is no pace on, Anton Marcus could take advantage on Disco Al, who has enough toe to stretch them.
Breaking With Tradition
Gold Circle announced in February 2014 that the Betting World Derby and the Betting World Oaks will henceforth be open to all ages at weight-for-age terms.
“With the main focus of the three year olds during Champions Season being the KRA Guineas’, The Daily News 2000, the Woolavington Stakes and obviously the Vodacom Durban July, the Derby and Oaks have been downgraded over the years and have struggled to find a consistent place in the programme,” said Racing and Marketing Executive Graeme Hawkins.
“There is International precedent, such as the Irish St Leger and the Yorkshire Oaks, to vary the terms and conditions of some of the “traditional” Classics and we are of the firm view that the quality and depth of both races will be enhanced by throwing them open to all ages,” said Hawkins.
“In addition, there are no weight-for-age races in South Africa over the distance and the overall programme for stayers will benefit from the change. The Graded Races sub-committee had no reservations about endorsing the move,” he added. The R400 000 Betting World Derby and R300 000 Betting World Oaks will be run over 2500m, as opposed to 2400m in years gone by.