While mostly overshadowed by the Gr1 action on a sizzling Saturday afternoon at Greyville, the finals of the KZN Winter Challenge provided some competitive racing.
The 2018 KZN Winter Challenge ran from 14 January to 26 May.
The series is designed to give the average handicapper a chance to compete for a larger than usual stake of R200 000 per final, with trainers also competing for a welcome opportunity to share in an incentive bonus of R50 000.
All races (excluding Features, Maiden Plates & Maiden Juvenile Plates) run in KwaZulu-Natal between 14 January and 26 May 2018 counted as qualifying races to earn points towards log standings, provided that the nett Merit Rating of a horse (after WFA Allowance) did not exceed 94 in the race in which it participated.
Paul Gadsby’s Expresso Martini (35 points) topped the log at close on 26 May, with Kumaran Naidoo in second courtesy of Roy’s Taxi (34 points). Paul Lafferty (Majestic Glory), Ivan van Wyk (Panza) and Alyson Wright (Roy’s Pony) finished a joint third on 30 points each.
Dennis Bosch and Richard Fourie teamed up to win the KWC 1600 final with the consistent Querari gelding, Kazaar. Bred by John Slade, the R275 000 Cape Premier Yearling Sale graduate boosted his earnings to R317 125 at his second win from ten starts.
Dennis Drier and Sean Veale teamed up to win the KWC 2000 final with the 5yo Silvano gelding Wealthy, who came home powerfully to win his fourth race from 23 starts and stakes of R362 075. Bred by KL Thomas, Wealthy is a R180 000 National 2yo Sale graduate.
Trainer Wendy Whitehead and jockey Stuart Randolph teamed up to win the KZN WC 1200 final with the Curved Ball 3yo Hard To Play. The Ian Heyns bred galloper has been a solid earner – winning at 4 of his 9 starts and placing at 4 – and took his earnings to R333 875 after overcoming a wide draw.