A dream dashed and patience rewarded!
The bipolar fortunes of horseracing were illustrated in dramatic fashion at Greyville on Saturday with the highly vaunted Orpheus’ plans going awry, while Gr1 Cape Derby winner Eyes Wide Open signalled his Vodacom Durban July aspirations with a scintillating late dash win the Gr2 WSB 1900.
Mike Azzie, Duncan Howells and Glen Kotzen are all seasoned trainers and they will take the bad with the good on any Saturday.
For Azzie, his Vodacom Durban July supplementary entry and recent record-setting Sledgehammer winner Orpheus saw everything go wrong. Restless in the stalls, he fly-jumped, lost lengths and the disruption had jockey Marco van Rensburg losing his left side stirrup iron.
The long striding 4yo was then taken wide around his field, led for home and compounded. He ran stone last, with only the riderless Duncan Howells trained Fiorella behind him.
The Captain Al filly faltered in running and dislodged jockey Muzi Yeni at around the 800m marker. Yeni appeared shaken and was taken to hospital for observation. The smart Daisy Fillies Guineas winner pulled up sound, according to reports.
On the other side of the emotional coin, it was a champagne afternoon for the Paarl-based Glen Kotzen, who saw his – and the Hattingh family’s – patience rewarded when the Dynasty 4yo Eyes Wide Open bounced back to his better form to score his first victory in over 15 months.
The agonising choice to sacrifice a racing career and try and produce a stallion, as opposed to the unkindest cut of all, have long been the leading subject of exchanges between Glen and his esteemed patron Hugo Hattingh, and the debate looks to have finally been resolved – with Kotzen going public this week to confirm that he felt that the haemo-concentration issues that beset the smart colt’s Cape Summer campaign were well behind him.
Dropped 3 points by the handicapper after his 8,65 lengths off Orpheus in the Sledgehammer, Eyes Wide Open was produced late by Warren Kennedy to win by a widening quarter length in a time of 115,90 secs.
With most of the top contenders in the field needing the run, the least favoured of the Snaith trio, the stayer Magnificent Seven, stayed on best of the rest to shade his stablemate Made To Conquer into third.
In a tight finish, Joey Ramsden’s well-travelled Western Winter filly Fresnaye ran an outstanding race to grab fourth and under a half length off the winner.
The race grants the winner a ‘preferred consideration’ July ticket to the winner and as a past Gr1 winner, Eyes Wide Open is bound to have his big race supporters.
The Ridgemont Highlands bred Eyes Wide Open is a son of the recently deceased champion Dynasty (Fort Wood) out of the one-time winning Live Your Dreams (Jallad).
An R850 000 BSA KZN Sibaya Yearling Sale graduate, Eyes Wide Open is a dual Gr1 winner in his 5 wins and 4 places from his 16 starts, for stakes of R1 922 125.
Gr2 World Sports Betting 1900 (SAf-Gr2)
Greyville, South Africa, May 18, R500k, 1900m, turf, good, 1.55.09
1 – EYES WIDE OPEN (SAF), 60.0, b c 4, Dynasty (SAF) – Live Your Dreams (SAF) by Jallad (USA). Owner Chrigor Stud (Pty) Ltd (Nom: Mrs S Hattingh); Breeder Highlands; trainer GS Kotzen; jockey W Kennedy
2 – Magnificent Seven (SAF), 58.0, ch g 4, Horse Chestnut (SAF) – Kartanya (SAF) by Model Man (SAF)
3 – Made To Conquer (SAF), 60.0, b g 5, Dynasty (SAF) – Festive Occasion (SAF) by Casey Tibbs (IRE)
Margins: 0.25, 0.10, 0.05