The dreaded Cape Crawl appears to have spread North to Gauteng with an outbreak observed at Turffontein on Saturday. Whether it was the presence of a few jockeys from the Mother City or the small fields in the two features, things went awry with an upset result in the Listed Spook Express Handicap.
True-run races are supposed to produce form results, and while things panned out well, despite the pace. for the formbook with the fresh Inara outsprinting her rivals in the Empress Club Stakes, things didn’t end quite as happily for favourite backers in the support feature.
Only seven runners lined up in the Spook Express and with nothing prepared to play the Pied Piperess it was left to S’manga Khumalo and Eva Tibbs to lead. The Casey Tibbs mare was pulling hard against the steel and took her six followers into the straight at a yawn.
As in the Empress Club, the race turned into a sprint in the run for home with The Centenary and the smart 3yo Zafira going head to head into the final 350m.
While Zafira appeared to shade the De Kock runner for a stride, the recently returned-from-injury Randall Simons was having none of it and changed whip hands before getting stuck into the NZ bred galloper.
Starting at 8-1, The Centenary stayed on well to beat Zafira by a neck in a time of 159,49 secs with the favourite Marmalady staying on for third.
It was Randall Simons’ first ride in over two months.
This was quite a training feat as The Centenary was having only her second outing since running unplaced behind Master Sabina in the 2015 Sansui Summer Cup.
The Centenary, a New Zealand Bloodstock 2013 Select Yearling Sale NZ$ 40 000 purchase, has now won 6 races with 3 places from 18 starts.
She has earned R555 125 in stakes.
The Centenary is a daughter of Danehill Dancer stallion Mastercraftsman out of the Montjeu mare, Diamantaire, a lightly raced, placed half-sister to Philidor.
The Irish-bred Mastercraftsman was champion 2yo colt in Europe & Ireland in 2008 with 7 wins from 1200m to beyond 2000m.