Saturday was a day of some notable firsts at Kenilworth.
Chief amongst those will be former jockey Piet Botha, who saddled his first winner.
Botha made a comeback to the saddle after a five year injury enforced retirement absence in 2017. His last ride on his final hurrah was a winner, when he got Jay Rock up to win at Kenilworth on 28 July.
A few days later, he took the plunge and opened his Dare To Dream yard at Milnerton. That at a time when more trainers were closing, than opening.
Piet’s first winner came in the form of Head Of The Pack, who was nicely ridden by William Bambiso.
The son of Noordhoek Flyer has often been a pacesetter but the top-class Bambiso relaxed him on the rail and let his less experienced opponents cut throats out front in the 1200m sprint.
Head Of The Pack came home an easy winner. Nobody’s going to be hyping up the form as the two more fancied runners in November Storm and All The Sevens fell in a hole after going too fast early and filled the last two places.
In the second race, Sean Veale won on his opening ride of the Cape summer season. He steered longshot Kenny Trix home to give the Marshall yard their sixth winner in the last sixteen Cape races. Only Zeb started fancied of those six.
The third race gave KZN rider Keagan De Melo his first winner of the Cape summer season when Paddy Kruyer’s Rush Hour Girl bounded home at 14-1. The daughter of Windrush has tumbled down the ratings and was found by some astute observers.
Last season’s Gr1 Gold Challenge winner Undercover Agent, who gave Lyle Hewitson, owner Greg Bortz and breeders Moutonshoek their respective first Gr1 successes, won his first start as a 4yo when he charged home after a four-month break to win the fourth race, beatng local sprint star, Dutch Philip.
The L’Órmarins Queen’s Plate could be on his radar.
In the tightest finish of the day, Greg Ennion’s Sailor Sam won first time in blinkers when getting up to win the fifth in the hands of Corne Orffer.
Having her first run beyond the sprints, Cape Nursery winner Clouds Unfold won the Gr2 Western Cape Fillies Championship to announce her Cape Fillies Guineas claims.
Having his first run around the turn at home, Listed Somerset 1200 winner Twist Of Fate gave his sire Master Of My Fate his first graded stakes winner, when going from gun to tape to win the Gr3 Cape Classic.
Having her first run at 1800m, the Varsfontein Stud bred Judpot filly Expedite lumbered topweight to beat Woodstock Fairy and the highly regarded favourite Water Spirit to win the eighth.
Potala Palace colt Perfect Summer registered his first win at his third start when getting up to beat stablemate St Vladimir in the final race of the day.
This marked a double for Brett Crawford and gave Corne Orffer his third winner of the afternoon.