The Phillipi-based training partnership of Carl Burger and Riaan van Reenen enjoyed a glorious afternoon at Kenilworth on Saturday with a hat-trick of winners, all ridden by young apprentice Craig Bantam.
And to show that big money buying is not always a necessity, their three winners cost a combined R160 000!
The Van Reenen/Burger partnership was established at the beginning of this season after Burger suffered the setback of losing a leg, followed by a quadruple heart bypass. The joining of forces of the pair led to a rationalisation of costs and a focus on delivering results – Saturday showed that, given the horses, they can do the job.
The first of their winners was the R40 000 CTS March Yearling Sale buy, Rebels Spirit. Unfancied on debut, the Thoroughly Good Syndicate-bred daughter of Rebel King impressed, beating equally unfancied Snaith debutante, Ma Forte.
Their next winner was another first timer! This time it was the James Armitage-bred Jay Peg filly Midnight Moonlight, who overcame a wide draw to win first up over 1400m. Another CTS March Yearling Sale buy, she cost just R60 000, and recovered much of her purchase price with a smart effort.
The combination rounded off a good day at the office, when Bantam rode his 27th career winner, getting the Muhtafal gelding Rocketeer home to register his second career win. The Greenhill Farm-bred 3yo cost just R60 000 at the 2015 Suncoast KZN Yearling Sale.
Bantam, who had his claim cut to 2,5kgs, after riding his 20th winner in April, has got to be one of the best value for weight riders around. He has matured slowly – having ridden his first winner at the Vaal in February 2016 – but appears to be finding his feet at last. Hopefully he will enjoy some more support from trainers keen to use the weight concession.