They say that nobody ever remembers who ran second, but the name of the 4yo Western Winter colt Last Winter is one that would have left a lingering impression on many observers after his dashing second to Oh Susanna in Saturday’s Gr1 Sun Met.
“Naturally we are disappointed – who wouldn’t want to rather win the Met than running second? But we have no excuses,” said Dean Kannemeyer in a chat with the Sporting Post on Sunday morning.
Last Winter came into the Met having just his sixth start. After regular pilot Anthony Delpech baled due to contractual commitments, he had multiple SA champion Piere Strydom aboard for the first time. He drew widest of all and jumped from the 18 barrier gate. The winner received 8kgs from him.
“I thought Piere (Strydom) rode a great race from the draw. This was Last Winter’s first time in the ring with the heavyweight champions. Piere had him covered and settled, and perfectly placed to launch an attack. When we spoke afterwards, he said that Last Winter just didn’t know what to do. Every time he asked him to go, there was no response. He squeezed him and finally gave him a back-hander, and then the penny finally dropped. He showed a dazzling turn of foot from a position he really couldn’t run a place from. But by then the race was to all intents and purposes over, and the filly was home. We can’t take anything away from the winner and must congratulate the connections. At the same time we are excited by our boy and his future.”
Dean said that he had always believed that Last Winter was a top horse and he was improving all the time. He felt that when he learnt to race and had more experience under the belt that he could take on the world.
“He has pulled up sound and once the dust has settled we will be meeting with Khaya Stables to discuss a possible international campaign – more than likely Dubai and Hong Kong. When they are good enough, South African bred horses have shown that they can hold their own out there. I would never consider it if I didn’t feel he was good enough. But naturally it’s something that we need to discuss with Jehan Malherbe and Lady Laidlaw. Failing that, the KZN Champions Season is ahead of us and he will then be aimed at the July,” he said.