Vaal 31st December: A maiden juvenile plate over 800m got proceedings underway on New Year’s Eve and here we saw a smart performance from the Sean Tarry trained newcomer EMERALD TIARA. Sent off joint second favourite at 7/1, the daughter of Gimmethegreenlight was soon up handy. She got the better of the odds on favourite RING OF FIRE 100m out and with the rest well beaten she won going away. Third placed WHAT YOU ARE (T Spies trained newcomer) took a bump at the start and caught the eye running on very nicely in the latter stages. The official going was changed after the running of race one, from good to soft, to soft.
Three of the afternoon’s eight races were staged over 1200m and in the quickest of these (an assessment plate) BILLY SILVER showed his well-being in no uncertain terms. Thrown in at the weights in this his first start since relocating to the highveld, the Silvano gelding sat sixth of the eight for most of the journey. He cut through the field like a knife when given rein, and only having to be pushed out, he won going away with a ton in hand.
They also ran three races over 1600m where the quickest home on my clock was the well exposed SAMMI MOOSA when landing the MR72 Handicap. Winning for only the third time in 47 outings, St John Gray’s charge also came from midfield. She put her head in front 150m from home and kept on strongly late to beat the more fancied MY DREAM CHASER (raced handy – led 300m) by three quarters.
Hampered 150m out en-route from the back, JUBILEE LINE was fairly flying at the finish when a three quarter length runner up in the MR75 Handicap over 1600m. Unlucky.
Greyville 1st January: Apprentice Jason Gates won the first two races on Greyville’s poly track card on New Year’s Day and followed those two efforts up with a second positioning in both the third and the eighth. The opening maiden plate over 1600m was the most notable of these where he ran out a very easy winner on the 7/2 shot THE GREY CRUSADER. Soon three lengths clear in what quickly became a strung out field, the son of Crusade quickened nicely at the top of the short home straight and in what proved to be the faster of the two 1600m events, he won going away by seven and a quarter.
Another to win by a steeplechase margin was the 6yo HADDINGTON when registering his sixth career victory in the faster of the two MR63 Handicaps over 2000m. Easy to back at 11/1 on the off, Louis Goosen’s charge was soon up handy. He took up the running going through the 700m and already three lengths clear entering the home straight, he went on to score by seven.
The MR69 Handicap was marginally the quicker of the two 1200m events and here victory went to the well-supported favourite SENTIDO. Soon positioned close to the speed, Garth Puller’s charge put his head in front shortly after passing the 300m marker and kept on strongly late to beat the running on FIELDMARSHAL FENIX by 0,35.
Detached at the rear for most of the journey, JO MAMBO was finishing best of all when a 2,55 length fourth in the MR70 Handicap over 1600m. Interestingly, Jo Mambo was reported as not striding out freely in the early and middle stages of the race by jockey Marco Van Rensburg.
Fairview 2nd January: The bill topping Lady’s Bracelet (L) was by far the fastest of the three 1600m races on Wednesday’s turf card and here we saw a very easy victory for the Western Cape raider PLATINUM CLASS. Thrown in at the weights on best form, the Silvano filly was very confidently ridden by Richard Fourie and raced in the rear. She quickened well when given rein in the long home straight and cruised clear to score by two after striking the front 200m out.
They also ran three races over 1400m and quickest home here was DON’T STOP DANCING when winning the MR64 Handicap. Freely available at 11/1 on the off, the top weighted Dynasty mare led throughout. She kept on strongly at the business end of the race and just had enough in hand to beat the steadily gaining KEEP THE FAITH by a half.
A maiden juvenile plate over 1000m had opened up proceedings and here we saw a very easy victory for the Gavin Smith trained WILD MOVE. Another to score from the front, the son of Crusade raced clear throughout. He was always in command and with jockey Musi Yeni looking around for challenges from well out, he just did the necessary in the latter stages to score by four and a half.
Running on from midfield, the uneasy favourite MALINDA was baulked for a run between the 400m-350m marks when a three quarter length runner up in the maiden plate over 1400m.
51 Below Best
Vaal 3rd January: Thursday’s action took place on the classic track where three of the afternoon’s nine races were staged over 2000m. Somewhat surprisingly, the lowest graded of the three handicaps was quickest and here the 10yo YER-MAAN registered his twelfth career victory. Racing off a mark some 51 points lower than that of his earlier best, St John Gray’s veteran was positioned in midfield early on. He ran on best of all at the business end of the race and with the rest well beaten he got the better of TO THE REGIMENT by 0,6 lengths.
The only other distance to stage more than one race was 1200m where the MR66 Handicap won by GENEROUS NOTION was the quicker. Allowed to ease right out to 8/1 from 33/10 at the track, Grant Maroun’s charge raced prominent throughout. She moved up to tackle the front running BATTLE CREEK 200m from home and with the rest some four lengths adrift, she got the better of a thrilling tussle by a quarter.
A maiden juvenile plate over 800m had gotten the meeting underway and here we saw a smart performance from the well-supported favourite ME TIME. Soon positioned close to the speed, the daughter of Gimmethegreenlight took up the running 500m out. Jockey Musi Yeni was continually looking around for challenges thereafter and she went on to win with a ton in hand by three and a quarter.
RECONNAISSANCE came from the rear when winning the maiden plate over 1600m going away.
Kenilworth 4th January: The Gr2 Sceptre Stakes over 1200m topped the bill on the first day of the Queens Plate festival and not surprisingly, it did prove to be the fastest race on the card. The field was very tightly bunched early on and although the eventual winner CLOUDS UNFOLD raced 18th of the 19, she was only 3,5 lengths off the pace. She quickened in good style at the business end of the race and in what proved to be a real thriller, she got up very late to collar JUNIPER SPRING.
The listed Jamaica Handicap over 2000m was the supporting act and here we saw a nice performance from the improving PRINCESS IRENE. Well positioned in seventh when the race began in earnest, the Duke Of Marmalade filly was ridden to lead 100m out by Sean Veale and won going away from FOXY PRINCESS by three quarters.
The MR68 Handicap was the faster of the two 1000m races on the card and here a bit of an upset was to be had when the former Eastern Cape campaigner STEFFI’S GRAFT gained only her second win from 23 starts. In touch throughout, Tobie Spies’ charge ran on stoutly over the final 400m and in a race where just 1,1 lengths covered the first five home, she got the verdict over the 20/1 shot RACINE.
EMERALD BAND only had to be pushed out when opening his account in the juvenile plate over 1000m.
Top speedratings for this weekend include:-
Race 1: (4) Day’s Of Thunder 10
Race 2: (1) Malinda 2
Race 3: (1) Royal Kiss 15
Race 4: (1) Humble Addict 32
Race 5: (8) Gift Of Gold 28
Race 6: (2) Cowgirlinthesand 31 (EW)
Race 7: (6) Fairyinthemist 53
Race 8: (2) Pacific Spirit 59
Race 9: (10) The Carpenter 39
Race 1: (3) Hallelujah 7
Race 2: (5) Glamorous Life 55
Race 3: (1) Brave Tiger 13
Race 4: (1) Hurricane Silva 28
Race 5: (3) Northern Spy 14
Race 6: (8) Fortune Flies 48
Race 7: (9) Gimme A Cohiba 30
Race 8: (1) Bid Before Sunset 46
Race 9: (2) Silver Master 48
Race 1: (4) Ring Of Fire 18
Race 2: (1) Tommy Tiger 29
Race 3: (13) Noble Princess 28
Race 4: (7) Artemisia 69
Race 5: (1) Hero’s Honour 61
Race 6: (1) Kings Archer 65
Race 7: (4) All At Once 63
Race 8: (4) Wrecking Ball 69
Race 9: (15) Princess Lomita 10
Race 1: (4) Marzipan Path 17 (NAP*)
Race 2: (3) Twice As Smart 66
Race 3: (1) Roy’s Novice 9
Race 4: (2) Special Force 17
Race 5: (7) Roy’s Magic 47
Race 6: (5) Everlasting Love 34 (EW)
Race 7: (7) Banjo On My Knee 49
Race 8: (6) Cruise Cruz 7
Top rated winners last week included
Pachanga won 12/1
Three Times A Lady won 8/1
Bonnie Dawn won 31/4
The Grey Crusader won 71/20
Wild Move won 10/3
Billy Silver won 2/1
Cabo Da Cruz won 2/1
Hawwaam won 1/4
Billy Silver (G Woodruff, Gauteng)
The number of races run over each distance is shown in brackets
*Denotes – Times taken by Clockwatcher
Vaal 31st December
Penetrometer 24 – G/Soft
Course Variant: 1,37s slow
800m (1) Emerald Tiara 46,60
1200m (3) Billy Silver 70.90
1400m (1) Tamarina 85,55
1600m (3) Sammi Moosa 98,34*
Greyville (poly) 1st January
1000m (1) Bravo Zulu 58,66
1200m (2) Sentido 70,98
1400m (1) Gorgeous Guest 83,39
1600m (2) The Grey Crusader 97,05
1800m (1) Imperial Royal 111,02
2000m (2) Haddington 122,40
Fairview (turf) 2 January
Penetrometer 23 – Going Good
Course Variant: 0,83s slow
1000m (2) Adriano’s Triumph 56,95
1400m (3) Don’t Stop Dancing 85,42
1600m (3) Platinum Class 96,59
1800m (1) Three Times A Lady 113,21
Vaal (classic) 3rd January
Penetrometer 24 – Going G/Soft
800m (1) Me Time 46,60
1000m (1) Ilha Da Varlette 57,55
1200m (2) Generous Notion 70,34
1600m (1) Reconnaissance 99,29
2000m (3) Yer-Maan 125,22
2400m (1) Pilgrim’s Progress 153,93
Kenilworth (new) 4th January
Penetrometer 23 – Going Good
Course Variant: 0,43s slow
1000m (2) Steffi’s Graft 58,82
1200m (2) Clouds Unfold 71,15
1600m (2) Charles 100,03
2000m (1) Princess Irene 124,56
2500m (1) Bold Assassin 160,97