Former Gr3 Cape Nursery winner The West Is Wide turned on the speed at Fairview on Friday when going all the way under a determined Raymond Danielson to win the R100 000 Speedsters Stakes and give trainer Tara Laing her first winner of the new season.
The former Vaughan Marshall trained son of Western Winter has settled in nicely into his new home in the Eastern Cape and was registering his second win in just five starts in the region. He races in the springbok silks of SA champion owners Ingrid and Markus Jooste and gave Laing a confidence boosting early icebreaker in the non black-type feature.
Jooste paid tribute to all of his trainers and mentioned Laing more than once in a recorded thank-you which was broadcast at the Equus Awards last Tuesday evening after they have picked up their ninth consecutive owner championship.
Trainer Tara Laing came perilously close to achieving her 60 winner bonus target last term, falling just two short – and will be hoping to crack the five winner average per month this season. Her operation, focussed on optimising winners out of some decent Jooste horses who have reached their shelf life in stronger centres, has been an integral component in the Mayfair Speculators success story.
In the eleven horse field, Raymond ‘Stingray’ Danielson bounced The West Is Wide keenly and the 6yo gelding belied his age as he galloped relentlessly and stayed on beautifully at a generous 12 to 1 to beat a back-to-form Sedge by a half-length in a time of 57,93 secs.
The 5-2 favourite Al Don Cumarco got going a touch late and was edged into third – he must be watched over 1200m next time and inevitably runs an honest race.
Bobby James flattered only to deceive, and ran a half length back in fourth on a blank day at the office for the Snaith Racing Team.
The West Is Wide was bred by SA Champion breeders Klawervlei Stud and is by Western Winter out of the six time winning Fard speedball, Poppy.
He has now won 8 races with 4 places from 32 starts and took his earnings to R565 865.
He should continue to earn over the sprints if he maintains this level of output.
The riding honours on the day went to Andrew Fortune, who rode a smashing double, to take his season tally to 9. The heavyweight legend is riding with determination and his performance to get Gogetthesheriff up in the last stride to win the 1400m Pinnacle Stakes, was textbook stuff.
Alan Greeff saddled a winning treble, ridden by three different jockeys, and was the day’s most successful trainer.