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The Race That Wasn’t

Riding instructions queried by Stipes

For those of us who have never ridden in a race, it is difficult to criticise or understand the principle of allowing an opposing jockey to take the initiative and build up a lead of 12 lengths or more.

But it would be interesting to hear from the nine jockeys who allowed Marco van Rensburg to, apparently ride them to sleep in Sunday’s Listed The Sledgehammer.

Marco van Rensburg and Orpheus – walk in the park (Pic – Candiese Marnewick)

Most of us in the game talk from our pockets. But the visual spectacle of Marco van Rensburg’s beautiful burgle on the Azzie-trained Orpheus was something to behold.

Coming into the Greyville short straight, Orpheus held a lead of some eight lengths with no visible panic from any of the professionals behind him. Were they expecting Orpheus to fold? He had gone quite quickly…

But the big son of Western Winter with the elastic stride simple powered home to maintain his lead to win by 6,75 lengths in a time of 106,64 secs.

In a largely academic outcome, Roy Had Enough was second, with Our Coys a further 1,30 lengths away in fourth.

The 33-10 favourite Eyes Wide Open finished 8,65 lengths back in fourth.

“When I saw Anton Marcus take back on Eyes Wide Open, I thought okay boys let’s see how quickly we gonna go now,” said Marco van Rensburg after a race that would have given him plenty of satisfaction.

Mike Miller saddled the Gauteng based winner on behalf of the Azzies.

The R2 million National Yearling Sale graduate was bred by Drakenstein Stud and is by Western Winter (Gone West) out of the seven time winner Stratos (Jet Master), who was also trained by Mike Azzie.

He has won 5 races with 6 places from 13 starts for stakes of R434 924..


  1. ORPHEUS (M V’Rensburg), the winner, was selected for the taking of specimens for analysis. Trainer M Miller acting for Trainer M/A Azzie advised. (RJ)
  2. ROY HAD ENOUGH (AUS) (B Fayd’Herbe), placed second, was selected for the taking of specimens for analysis. Trainer F Robinson advised.  (DA)
  3. OUR COYS (AUS) (W Kennedy) was hanging in on the bend and into the straight.
  4. In view of the performance of SHENANIGANS (M Yeni) (10.95 lengths) the Veterinary Surgeon was requested to examine this horse.
  5. Certain of the riders who headed the field in this Race appeared before the Board. They were questioned in regard to the instructions given for the running and riding of their respective mounts as well as the manner in which the Race unfolded.  This matter was adjourned for the Board to consider the riders’ statements.

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15 comments on “The Race That Wasn’t

  1. Jedri says:

    A really good ride absolutely brilliant and well done to mike and adam azzie well trained!!!

  2. Jim says:

    Was the time a new course record. If so that explains why nobody went with him

  3. Shanil says:

    There was many races that were won back In the day where jockeys went clear from start to finish. Exciting to watch too. Now it’s about pace timing and late runs when the race is over. Pretty boring. Brilliant ride by Marco.

  4. Cliff says:

    Well done to the Marco and Azzie steal or no steal a win is a win

  5. hilton witz says:

    Would be great to have the sectionals for the race but alas this is a pipedream.How mr moodley and his merry band of handicappers assess the race will be very interesting as this race had conditions to it and the winner was 9 pounds under sufferance with the best weighted horse roy had enough who ran second beaten 6.75 lengths ..What a pity the handicapers comedy roadshow was not held after the meeting at greyville yesterday.

  6. Art says:

    It might have been a brilliant ride by Marco,but as mentioned in the article there were a number of “professionals ” in the race too.???

  7. Brian says:

    When you don’t have a bean on a race it is great fun. It is a rush!

    By the 800 any fool could see it was over. It’s Greyville

    By the 1200 it was called 7 or 8 to the good. OK?

    By the 600 8/9 lengths to the good. You can’t give that away at Greyville and the rest were still in la la land. Not even an attempt to close the gap at all.

    At the 400 Marcus seems to wake up but this is a Champion Jockey, so is Lerena. Marcus rides the track every week Lerena doesn’t so he has a tiny excuse.

    Their only redemption can come from one thing. Their horses were absolute SH 1 T.

    Even if they were, the jockeys didn’t even try.

    As champions they should be taking a long look at themselves in the mirror. They got caught with their pants right off let alone around the ankles.

    This race warrants the stipes report being published in this forum

    1. Editor says:

      Stipes there – refresh Brian

  8. Mahendra Dhanniram says:

    Enterprising ride from Marco.Knowing his chief rivals were not precisely at their peak and prepping for bigger fish to fry he seized the initiative by setting the fractions.Orpheus a relentless galloper was allowed to use his action with his galloping weight of 54kgs with his pilot knowingly aware of being 15 pounds in receipt from weak market leader in Eyes Wide Open he cleverly stole a march as he reigned supreme on the gelded son of Western Winter … Mahendra

  9. Paul says:

    This is where an appreciation of the fractions may well be most revealing. Available, Ed? To the naked eye, Orpheus appears to have gone a bit quick early but then took a breather. Cleverly ridden and kudos to the trainer for delivering a fit horse.

  10. Jay August says:

    One reason dirt racing is always exciting to watch is because it favours speed. Front-end wins while difficult on non-dirt surfaces are always pleasing to watching, because they show just what race horses are capable of if they are ridden with confidence. Watching a final 400m dash, after a slow jog, in just about every race, can be quite boring.

  11. karel says:

    If the race was run in course record time (as it seems it was) then everyone was beaten at the start.
    To catch him they’d have to have gone even faster than the course record breaker. Impossible.
    Instructions matter not one bit when the bird has flown. All the opponents can do is hope that the front runner went too fast. There’s no alternative.

    Be interesting to see what explanation the stipes come up with.

  12. Shabir Khan says:

    I lost my pick 6 same leg.But credit to the jockey.These superman jockeys want to fly.

  13. Jim says:

    Indeed karel

  14. Ian says:

    This is ludicrous and the stipes allow the rest of the jockeys to get away with poor riding. While only the Punter suffers.

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