The home team dominated the finish of Sunday’s R250 000 Gr3 Poinsettia Stakes at Scottsville with Dennis Drier and Duncan Howells sending a message to the generally rampant Cape raiders that the SA Champions Season silverware won’t be handed out without a fight.
South Africa’s premier national championships of the turf only officially start this Friday at Greyville, but the KZN trainers, including Mark Dixon and Dennis Bosch, showed their mettle in the Scottsville curtain-raiser day by lifting three of the four features on offer – and dominating the big one.
It could be argued that the Cape stars are going to need at last a run to sharpen up and one example could be the Candice Bass-Robinson star Magical Wonderland, recently bought into by Mauritzfontein. The daughter of What A Winter is being aimed at the SA Fillies Sprint and she may well not have been at her best on Sunday, but was still backed into favourite.
But it was the Dennis Drier-trained Sommerlied, coming off a similar 13 week break, who was to have the last laugh as she came back into her own on home turf.
Sean Veale may not be the neatest rider in town, but he is very effective and when he gets the chance he takes it with both hands.
He had the Maine Chance owned and bred galloper a few lengths off the first wave of early speed down the inside as stablemate Anime and Isingimoya led the charge.
At the 250m marker Veale switched and produced Sommerlied down the middle as Anton Marcus brought the year younger Neptune’s Rain down the outside from miles back.
In a thrilling drive to the wire, Sommerlied got the verdict by a quarter length in a time of 67,49 secs.
Neptune’s Rain – labelled a Gr1 filly by her trainer recently – continues to impress,while last year’s winner The Secret Is Out also did her best work late to grab third, ahead of Anime.
Magical Wonderland finished in fifth and just over a length off. She will come on with this run under the belt.
Trainer Dennis Drier said that no matter how good a trainer was, if he hasn’t got the horses, he couldn’t do it. “I took her to Cape Town she wasn’t right. She has her issues. Well done to Sean (Veale) though. A great ride!” he added.
“I would have been happier over 1000m as Sommerlied has never won over 1200m. She was so relaxed today though.It was also a good run from Mr Howells’ filly,” quipped Veale in reference to the runner-up.
Bred and raced by Maine Chance Farms, Sommerlied is by Var (Forest Wildcat) out of Sommermarchen (Pentire – Simply Red by Dashing Blade), who won at 1850m in Germany from two starts, and was retired injured. She is a half-sister to four stakes winners.
Pentire is a son of Be My Guest and won 8 and and £911,037, racing in Great Britain, Ireland, France, Japan, U.A.E.
Sommerlied never runs a place but this was her biggest success to date. She has won 6 races from 9 starts for stakes of R525 625.
Gr3 Poinsettia Stakes (SAf-Gr3)
Scottsville, South Africa, April 29, R250k, 1200m, turf, soft, 1.07.49
1 – SOMMERLIED (SAF), 57.0, b f 4, Var (USA) – Sommermarchen (GER) by Pentire (GB). Owner Maine Chance Farms (Pty) Ltd (Nom: Dr W A & Mrs N Jacobs); Breeder Maine Chance; trainer DR Drier; jockey S Veale
2 – Neptune’s Rain (SAF), 57.0, b f 3, Antonius Pius (USA) – Water Is Gold (SAF) by Rich Man’s Gold (USA)
3 – The Secret Is Out (SAF), 58.5, b f 4, Captain Al (SAF) – Secret Of Victoria (SAF) by Goldkeeper (USA)
Margins: 0.25, 0.50, 0.25