Turffontein trainer Paul Peter is the newest insomniac on the South African racing scene. A certain rising star 3yo named Majestic Mambo has contributed in no small measure to his trauma!
The Peter family are heavily invested in horseracing and the paint trade. Paul has long left the latter part of the business in search of the adrenaline rush of training winners. But he says the sport of kings is no simple matter of colour choice, mix, surface prep and then two coats!
Paul did his apprenticeship under the tutelage of the vastly experienced James Maree. He went on his own in May 2010 and saddled his first winner Magico on July day, 2010.
“This game challenges us every day. One learns something new every day. There are highs and lows. But that’s the challenge and the rush,” he adds through bleary eyes.
The latest reason for his tossing and turning all night is the smashing Moutonshoek bred Mambo In Seattle colt Majestic Mambo, who runs in the R2 million Gr1 SA Classic at Turffontein next Saturday.
An unextended winner of his first three starts and hailed a sensation, there was plenty of hype – no pun intended – when he went to post for the Gauteng Guineas in early March. But there was to be no painting (sorry!) the town red for the Peters afterwards.
“I haven’t slept since. I’m in the yard at 4am. Not quite sleep walking but checking the boxes. Checking the leavings. Thinking. Wondering. Processing information! Does that sound crazy?” he laughs.
Some observers put Majestic Mambo’s below-par Guineas performance down to coltish behaviour in the preliminaries and during the race. He eventually ran 12th and almost 14 lengths behind Monks Hood.
We asked Paul how he intends to bring the same big colt back for the Classic and actually expect a different result?
“I really haven’t slept since that Saturday evening of 3 March. Disappointment is not strong enough a word. We were devastated. But we have gone back to the drawing board and come up with a few rational observations.”
Paul says that Majestic Mambo had been ‘quiet’ on the Friday before the Guineas. He didn’t pay too much attention to it at the time. He also says that his whole string has only just turned the corner after being flat for a while.
And Majestic Mambo’s coltish behaviour that had Julie Alexander wide-eyed?
“He was actually less coltish on Guineas Day than when he won at his first three starts. I think it was a big race. There was plenty of attention on him. It was more public. That’s the way he is. I don’t believe that was the problem.”
Paul goes on to say that the race replay of the Guineas has been analysed by himself and jockey Anthony Delpech, who will take the reins again on 7 April.
“We have reached the conclusion that Majestic Mambo does not enjoy racing between horses. In his first two starts, he won down the outside. When he won the Sea Cottage, the false rail gave him space to fly down the inside. He is a slow starter and I don’t believe his 14 draw in the Classic will be of any issue. And I won’t be giving Anthony (Delpech) any instructions! He knows the horse. I think it will be very different outcome in the SA Classic!”
A bargain R40 000 buy, Majestic Mambo is out of the one-time winning Regal Classic (Al Mufti). The dam won at 2400m. He is bred on the same cross as graded stakes winners Desert Rhythm and Fortune Fella, as well as Listed Michaelmas Handicap winner Mr O’Neill.
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“The further the better for him, I believe. The plan is to go for the SA Derby and then aim him at the Vodacom Durban July. But let’s take one day at a time. Just don’t say we didn’t tell you!”
Paul also goes into the Triple Tiara second leg on the same day with the crack Tiger Ridge filly Folk Dance. Another ‘eagle eye’ purchase at R100 000, she tries 1800m for the first time and is expected to go close.
“Both Majestic Mambo and Folk Dance worked beautifully today. The yard is firing. Be with us on Classic Day!”