Fairview 25th February: Western Cape based trainers have been raiding the Eastern Cape in greater numbers of late and having an enormous amount of success. The Vaughan Marshall trained BLACKBEARD looked a cut above his eleven locally based rivals in the maiden plate over 1600m on Monday’s poly track card, and so it proved to be. The best bet on the card for most, the Cape Town raider raced in the rear for most of the journey. He cut through the field like a knife when given rein and went on to score with a lot more authority than the 2,25 lengths margin would suggest.
Another Cape Town raider to find the winner’s enclosure on the afternoon was TIPPU TIB in the novice plate. Taken straight to the front by Craig Zackey, the 3yo Ashaawes gelding led throughout. He was always in command and also won more cosily than the winning margin (half a length) might suggest.
Three of the afternoon’s eight races were run over 1900m and stopping the clock in the fastest time amongst these was the former Gauteng campaigner ARANJUEZ. Having his fourth outing here since relocating, the 4yo Just As Well gelding raced in midfield during the early part of the race. He quickened well coming off the bend and under a well-judged ride from Chase Maujean, he got up late to beat the nibbled at OKAVANGO DELTA.
Just two of the twelve runners in the opening maiden plate over 1200m were females and interestingly, they finished first and second.
Couple To Follow
Kenilworth 26th February: Four of the eight races in Cape Town on Tuesday were run over 1200m. The bill topping MR90 Handicap was the fastest of these and here victory went to the speedy BWANA. Taken straight to the front by Piere Orffer the son of Trippi led throughout. He kept on strongly at the business end of the race and got the verdict by three quarters from the running on MACHIAVELLI. Having only his third career outing here, the runner up was coming off a ten month break. He was gaining nicely at the finish and looks sure to come on stacks next time.
The MR80 Handicap was the faster of the two 1600m events and with the benefit of first run victory here went to the second favourite CROME YELLOW. Always handy, Andre Nel’s charge took up the running 250m out and just had enough in hand to beat the strongly fancied favourite NEXUS by a short head. Running on from midfield Nexus was fairly flying at the finish and would have won going away in another stride. Unlucky.
The two remaining races were both staged over 2000m and stopping the clock in the faster of these was the progressive 3yo ST VLADIMIR when registering his third career victory from just six starts in the MR80 Handicap. On leaving the stalls it was the 25/1 shot PARISIAN GOLD who elected to make the running and at one stage the son of Biarritz was a good 15 lengths clear. Nicely positioned in second turning for home though, Brett Crawford’s charge steadily began to reel him in, and under a well-judged ride from Greg Cheyne he got up 150m out and won going away.
Easy to back at 9/1 on the off, DURTY NELLY showed considerable improvement when winning the MR80 Handicap over 1200m very easily by four and three quarters.
Scottsville 27th February: The easiest victory in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday was undoubtedly that of the Gareth Van Zyl trained newcomer YESSIRICANBOOGIE in the opening maiden juvenile plate over 1000m. Always in the red, the heavily supported daughter of Time Thief was soon at the head of affairs. She only had to be pushed out at the business end of the race and won with a ton in hand by seven.
The non-black type Fever Tree Stakes topped the bill and in what proved to be by far the faster of the two 1400m events, TRIBAL FUSION registered his seventh career victory from just 18 starts. Confidently ridden by Anton Marcus the 6yo Trippi gelding sat fifth of the seven for most of the journey. He quickened best of all at the top of the straight, and won going away after striking the front 100m from home.
The two 1200m races were both maiden plates, the faster being the one for 2yo’s won by the newcomer PEARL OF ASIA. Sent off favourite at 21/10, the son of Pathfork led throughout. He was two and three quarter lengths clear at halfway and that proved to be only just enough to hold off another newcomer in MASTER JAY (beaten a short head).
PATHS OF VICTORY was gaining quickly at the finish when only beaten by the narrowest of margins in the MR79 Handicap over 2400m.
Ready To Fire
Vaal 28th February: The Mike De Kock trained newcomer FIRED UP found solid support to win what proved to be the faster of the two 1400m events on the ten race program and he didn’t let down his supporters. Soon up handy, the son of Rock Of Gibraltar was ridden to lead 200m out and won going away with some in hand.
The distance of 1000m took the lion’s share of the races, the fastest of the four being the MR84 Handicap won by WHORLY WHORLY. Positioned in midfield for the first half of the race, Clinton Binda’s charge ran on stoutly over the final 500m and got the verdict by a half over the always handy ORAVAR (led 300m).
Two 1200m events brought the meeting to a close and in the faster of these, the pinnacle stakes, we saw a smart performance from the grey MARDI GRAS. Sent off favourite after the late scratchings of PINNACLE PEAK and ALL AT ONCE, the Oratorio gelding was always handy. He put his head in front 450m out and went on to score with authority by two and a quarter.
I AM BATMAN (rear) and SETABLAZE (midfield) both ran on well from off the pace when 1st & 2nd respectively in the maiden plate over 1400m.
It Was Written
Greyville 1st March: As is the norm nowadays racing on Friday evening took place on the poly track. Less than half a second covered the winning times of the three 1000m races, the fastest being the MR66 Handicap won by ROYAL RUSTLER. Positioned in midfield at the top of the short home straight, the Sporting Post’s each way value bet ran on best of all and in what proved to be a real thriller he got up in the very last stride to deny the easy to back ALEX THE GREAT.
The only other distance to stage more than one race was 1200m where the faster of the two was the MR64 Handicap won by the column’s top rated runner THE KING OF RANDOM. Freely available at 12/1 on the off, the 5yo King Of Kings gelding wasn’t the quickest into stride and raced in midfield early on. He ran on strongly in the straight and after striking the front 150m from home, he won well by a half.
A juvenile plate over 1000m had opened up proceedings and here we saw a very comfortable victory for the Gauteng raider RING OF FIRE. Backed into 13/20 from even money at the track, Paul Peter’s charge led throughout. He was always in command and won without any anxious moments by three.
Positioned tenth of the eleven turning for home, BEAT IT ran on best of all when getting up late to deny the hat-trick seeking YAAS in the MR70 Handicap over 1000m.
Top speedratings for this weekend include:-
Race 1: (8) Speechmaker 7
Race 2: (3) Dubula 13
Race 3: (3) Sassy Lady 66
Race 4: (3) Fashion Force 11
Race 5: (4) Sark 6
Race 6: (1) Happy Girl 15
Race 7: (1) Madame Speaker 52 (NAP*)
Race 8: (8) Chestnut Wild 48
Race 9: (3) Smart Suzy 47
Race 1: (1) Hartleyfour 14
Race 2: (1) Urban Oasis 25 (nb)
Race 3: (5) Cavivar 31
Race 4: (3) Gin Fizz 35
Race 5: (6) Emerald Bay 58
Race 6: (6) Mister Magic 60
Race 7: (10) Pretty Border 52
Race 8: (2) Winter Watch 67
Race 9: (5) Topmast 57
Race 10: (1) Wild Thoughts 13 (MAP*)
Race 1: (5) Sweet Karma 1
Race 2: (5) Midwinter 7
Race 3: (4) Boomps A Daisy 20 (NAP*)
Race 4: (3) Cradleofgratitude 21
Race 5: (9) Cortada 49
Race 6: (5) Rock The Globe 18
Race 7: (10) Faye 43
Race 8: (16) Black Belt 57
Race 1: (6) Valeriana 19
Race 2: (3) Spring Breeze 46
Race 3: (2) Making Waves 63
Race 4: (3) Elusive Diva 23
Race 5: (10) Oona 21 (EW)
Race 6: (2) Collabro 52 (EW)
Race 7: (6) Elegant Royal 44
Race 8: (12) Chestnut’s Charm 42
Top rated winners last week included
The King Of Random won 12/1
Starlight won 19/4
Ruby Spirit won 71/20
Pollard won 33/10
Bwana won 47/20
Tribal Fusion won 29/20
Sun Up won 21/10
Upskilled won 12/10
Machievelli (C Bass-Robinson, W-Cape)
Nexus (J Snaith, W-Cape)
The number of races run over each distance is shown in brackets
*Denotes – Times taken by Clockwatcher
February (poly) 25th February
1100m (1) Aloysius 64,46
1200m (1) Sun Up 70,85*
1300m (2) Jika 76,58
1600m (1) Blackbeard 98,10
1900m (3) Aranjuez 117,25
Kenilworth (new) 26th February
Penetrometer 22 – Going Good
Course Variant: 0,91s slow
1200m (4) Bwana 71,67
1600m (2) Crome Yellow 98,82
2000m (2) St Vladimir 126,42
Scottsville (inside) 27th February
Penetrometer 25 – Going G/Soft
Course Variant: 0,59s slow
1000m (2) Filippo 56,64
1200m (2) Pearl Of Asia 69,83
1400m (2) Tribal Fusion 82,97
2400m (2) Don’t Look Back 150,99
Vaal 28th February
Penetrometer 20 – Going Good
Course Variant: 0,38s fast
1000m (4) Whorly Whorly 56,06
1200m (2) Mardi Gras 68,15
1400m (2) Fired Up 82,65
1500m (1) Warrior’s Rest 89,39*
2000m (1) The Bee’s Knees 124,70
Greyville (poly) 1st March
Course Variant: 0,22s slow
1000m (3) Royal Rustler 57,98
1200m (2) The King Of Random 70,91
1400m (1) Pollard 83,43
1700m (1) Roy’s Novice 103,76
2000m (1) Siberian Husky 122,28