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Cape Summer Around The Corner

Plans for some of the major players

Glen Kotzen is keeping an open mind about this season’s campaign for his 2018 Cape Derby winner Eyes Wide Open, winner of the WSB 1900 and fourth in the Vodacom Durban July.

The Woodhill trainer told Michael Clower: “I’m not yet sure what he will do but we are giving him a nice long break and then we will see how we go.”

The Dynasty five-year-old managed only seventh of nine on his final start in the WSB Champions Cup but Kotzen doesn’t believe that this should be written off as just the effects of a tough campaign, reasoning:

Eyes Wide Open (Pic -Candiese Marnewick)

“He was out at the weights whereas in the July he was handicapped to win but again they went too damn slow. Ideally I would love to have sent him to stud but there are too many horses doing that this time round so we are racing him for a further year.”

Stud is no longer an option for R6 million buy Charles, second in both the Cape Derby and the Track And Ball Derby, because he was gelded on Monday.

“We will see how he takes this and then work out a programme for him,” said Brett Crawford who confirmed that the unbeaten Somerset and Cape Nursery winner Armando is in quarantine for Hong Kong. Interestingly he is rated only 102, the same mark as controversially given to maiden winner General Franco.

Armando is off to Hong Kong (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

KRA Guineas winner Twist Of Fate, placed in the Vodacom Durban July and earner of more than R3 million, could start this season’s campaign in the Matchem Stakes at Durbanville on October 5.

Joey Ramsden, who won the Matchem with Variety Club and Act Of War, said: “Twist Of Fate is enjoying a holiday at the moment after having a great season but he could well start off in the Matchem.”

Twist Of Fate is having a nice rest (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

The opposition may include Head Honcho, winner of the Premier Trophy and third in the Sun Met, as Andre Nel reports: “The Matchem would be tempting. Otherwise the plan is a copy and paste of what he did last season. He has been wintering in Natal as the weather is so much warmer there but I may move him back to Cape Town in another week or so.”

The Matchem’s sister race, the Diana Stakes, is expected to be the starting point for last season’s Sweet Chestnut and Stormsvlei Mile winner Helen’s Ideal. “She has gone to Mike Stewart’s place at Noordhoek for a holiday on the beach,” says Paul Reeves. “But it’s more than likely that the Diana will be her first race of the season.”

Dharma runs shortly (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

Winter Derby winner Dharma will be back in action as early as Saturday week.

“The Kenilworth race will be his prep for the Setttlers Trophy at Durbanville on September 28,” reports Geoff Woodruff’s daughter and Cape Town assistant Lucinda.

“He will then go for the stayers’ races at Kenilworth right through to the end of February.”


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14 comments on “Cape Summer Around The Corner

  1. Jay August says:

    It appears that Michael Clowers understanding of handicapping is not matched by his prowess as a wordsmith or recorder of thoroughbred history. Regarding the rating of General Franco (102) as controversial is nonsense.

    General Franco, beat Three To Charlie by 3.5 lengths at debut while Armando beat him by 3,25 lengths in the Cape Nursery. Three To Charlie has a win for his only other start. There is no controversy – Sporting Post decided GF deserved a 97 for his maiden win, which I think is one of if not the highest ratings for a Maiden Juvenile they gave in 2018/19.

    The real controversy is that the program in the Western Cape is so deficient that there is only one Plate race for colts in the first 3 months of the racing season. Contrast the program in the Eastern Cape which has afforded another “controversially” rated horse World Radar to not only run and win again but also to potentially run again in a month. Apart from the Plate race she ran in on Friday there is another Plate race over 1400m available to her in a month at Fairview.

    Will General Franco run in the 3yo 1400m Progress Plate on 27th of this month, a race which promises to not overly tax his spirit?

    1. karel says:

      Here’s a list of Sporting Post AR>95 for last season’s 2yo’s

      date crs dist horse AR
      04/05/2019 T 1160 Basadi Faith 109
      04/05/2019 T 1160 Cavivar 109
      04/05/2019 T 1160 Frosted Gold 109
      09/03/2019 T 1000 Basadi Faith 106
      25/05/2019 S 1200 Eden Roc 106
      25/05/2019 S 1200 Frosted Gold 105
      04/05/2019 T 1160 Twilight Moon 105
      25/05/2019 S 1200 Wave 105
      27/07/2019 D 1200 African Warrior 104
      04/05/2019 T 1160 Battleoftrafalgar 104
      27/07/2019 D 1200 Alramz 103
      27/07/2019 D 1600 Got The Greenlight 103
      25/05/2019 S 1200 African Warrior 102
      06/07/2019 D 1300 African Warrior 102
      06/07/2019 D 1400 Cockney Pride 102
      04/05/2019 T 1160 Got The Greenlight 102
      25/05/2019 S 1200 Got The Greenlight 102
      11/07/2019 V 1000 Sarah 101
      06/07/2019 D 1400 What You Are 101
      09/03/2019 T 1000 Frosted Gold 100
      30/03/2019 T 1100 Frosted Gold 100
      07/07/2019 T 1400 Got The Greenlight 100
      06/07/2019 D 1300 Hooves Of Troy 100
      06/07/2019 D 1300 Wave 100
      25/05/2019 S 1200 Alramz 99
      23/05/2019 V 1200 De La Cruz 99
      11/07/2019 V 1000 De La Cruz 99
      06/07/2019 D 1400 Eden Roc 99
      11/04/2019 V 1200 Got The Greenlight 99
      06/07/2019 D 1300 Kaydens Pride 99
      27/07/2019 D 1600 Liberty Hall 99
      25/05/2019 S 1200 Master Jay 99
      06/07/2019 D 1400 Putontheredlight 99
      17/07/2019 D 1000 Travelling Light 99
      30/03/2019 T 1100 Twilight Moon 99
      06/07/2019 D 1400 Gabor 98
      04/05/2019 T 1160 Invidia 98
      08/06/2019 D 1400 Kaydens Pride 98
      06/07/2019 D 1300 Master Jay 98
      27/07/2019 D 1600 Rock The Globe 98
      08/06/2019 D 1400 Alramz 97
      16/04/2019 K 1000 General Franco 97
      04/05/2019 T 1160 Gin Fizz 97
      27/07/2019 D 1600 Kaydens Pride 97
      27/07/2019 D 1600 Promiseofamaster 97
      13/04/2019 T 1160 True To Life 97
      04/05/2019 T 1160 True To Life 97
      13/04/2019 L 1400 Captain Of Stealth 96
      25/05/2019 S 1200 Cavivar 96
      06/07/2019 D 1400 Cavivar 96
      27/07/2019 D 1200 Frosted Gold 96
      25/05/2019 S 1200 Miss Florida 96
      23/03/2019 T 1200 Sarah 96
      25/05/2019 S 1200 Singforafa 96
      27/07/2019 D 1200 Spring Break 96
      06/07/2019 D 1400 True To Life 96

  2. Rod Mattheyse says:

    Michael Clower’s statement on controversial rating for General Franco stream from an interview with Snaith Racing where they indicated their unhappiness

  3. Jay August says:

    I saw that interview hence my reference to “spirit” in the last sentence!

    Trainers have representation on the operators programming committee – the real controversy is why they fail to adjust the program to meet their needs, but conveniently blame the handicapper when they fail to do so.

  4. Rod Mattheyse says:

    Jay I am with you. The blanket decision to raise horses was yet again proof that the NHA is the single biggest existential threat to horse racing in South Africa . The operators problem is that MR bands have pre agreed stakes levels, now they are expected to pay more for the same dros horses racing against each but just for more money hence the operator only allowing the 6 pt bump in the upper benchmark meaning that the good horses can’t find races.

    I think the NHA made its decision a long time ago and started rating the 2 year olds on their new fairy tale methods – the provisional ratings of 2 year olds was whacky high – they get caught out when the NRB lets the ratings show before weights are published … I was shocked to see my horse get a 89 for running second in his first start.

  5. FJC says:

    Talking of Cape Racing, is the 2019 Cape Derby form the worst in history. The top 4 have done very little compared to previous winners and placed horses. 2018 runner up has won 2 Julys and if you go back in history that form is always strong. The Derby winner didn’t even run in the Champions Season cause MDK had plenty other better ones. The 5th placed SC did win the Guineas on a night with a very very strong tail wind but did nothing after that. I suspect they all going to be handicappers!

  6. Jay August says:

    Rod, I am finding it hard to bite on the argument that the operators have an inflexible agreement which cannot be altered, and that the 10 point hike has upset the apple cart.

    When you have unimaginative people negotiating these agreements on your (owners) behalf this is what you get – an inflexible outcome and a lot of finger pointing away from the real problem.

    Get yourself better negotiators!

  7. Rod Mattheyse says:

    Jay and I’m surprised you simply don’t believe what every trainer has said.

    I trust trainers and don’t trust the operators.

  8. Steve Reid says:

    Jay I like your work, and your solution to the problem even more! The problem with sheep, is that they prefer to be led. Maybe Mr Matthuyse should consider getting involved in the structures on a more formal level. He has years of experience and would make a proper difference. From what I see and hear, the Western Cape RA board is the only chapter of the RA that identifies and confronts the unimaginative individual. This individual would be better described as exorbitantly rewarded for heeding his masters voice, regardless of the ramifications to the members. Supabets funding is but one example, there are many more.

  9. Jay August says:

    Rod, I have a problem understanding many of your points. So, let me understand what I need to “believe” so that I can develop some “trust” (faith) in the prophets.

    Are the points below what should be believed?

    1) That the two year old ratings are are not consistent with prior years and that the new ratings for three year old’s are out of line with the historical norm;

    2) That the 10 and 6 point hikes have allowed the “dros” back into racing and have stopped the good horse from finding a spot in races;

    3) That the operators hands are tied as they as they have pre-agreed stakes levels. These are fixed and cannot be changed – the 6 point benchmark raise is the intended solution;

    4) That the entire problem stems from the NHA raise in ratings of 10 points and that 1-2 and 3 are all as a result of 4.

    5) The problem is consistent throughout all racing centres (not just Cape Town) and that “all” trainers “believe” this.

  10. Roderick Mattheyse says:

    Jay i had typed out a reply and statistically i had a 50% chance of uploading it but factually it never happened.

    I’m not trying to convince you and i don’t trust or believe prophets, but i do trust and believe good human beings.

    We currently have 90 3 yr old colts/geldings rated 90 or higher – 22% of the raced 3 yr old population.This is alarmingly higher than Sporting Posts statistics of 7% (even worse if you consider that SP AR in pounds and not half kilos) – if one removes the 10pt impost the stat conveniently reverts back to 7%.

    Prior to this year i recall Snow Dance as the highest 2 yr old maiden winner at 92 – now there are about 74 of them!!

    I cant recall seeing a rated 2 yr old receive the 10 pt impost subsequent to its initial official rating – hence i conclude that they factored the impost in

    My comments on the programme come from personal experience seeing opportunities for my runners disappear after the 10 pt impost – this was in WC and KZN

  11. Jay August says:


    The 2yo population this year has a median of 81 while last year it was 76 – the result of the 5 point hike (not 10!). The number of horses rated above 1 SD of the median is much the same this year compared to last year – 76 for 2019 versus 72 for 2018.

    Not sure how you define maiden winner but I assume it is any 2yo ending the season with only 1 win. If that is the metric then last year there were 32 rated 90+ and this year there are 38 rated 95+. You cannot compare an absolute 90 from this year to last given the blanket increase at season end.

    The impost was factored in I presume exactly as was done with the older population by adding 5 points (10 pts for the older horses excl PE) at season end. If as you state Three Two Charlie was rated 89 after his first run (a 2nd) then that would imply General Franco was rated 97 (89 + (2.3*3.5 lengths)). That was his highest rating and was then adjusted to 102 (97 + 5) at season end.

    Without knowing what SPs median 2yo AR is and what their WFA scale and lengths per pound scale is I cannot make any comment on their 2yo population beyond making simple comparisons from one horse to another. I do note however that they gave Three Two Charlie a 86 (versus MR 89) for that first run (2nd) in a Maiden Juvenile.

    The programming issues are more complex and require more discussion. I cannot do that in this thread but as I stated originally I can see the issue in the current Cape program you allude to.

  12. Eric Sands says:

    Jay August I am picking up stompies here so I do not really know what your gripe is about the Cape racing program? I am part of the Cape programming committee so please feel free to drop me a line. We as a committee have no qualms about new ideas or other people’s opinions. As I replied to someone the other day, programmimg is not an exact science. Horses arrive and horses leave, some horse’s MRs improve, whilst others drop. We attempt to create a program via the demographics of a quarterly census, that best suits the horse population at that time. We do not cater for any individual horse, trainer or owner but rather for Cape racing as a whole.
    We do not have a say about the MRs presented by the handicappers but have to create a program around them. Before our program goes to print we discuss with trainers (those that show an interest and reply when we request information) pertinent issues that we are having difficulty deciding.
    With the demise of Mayfair Speculators Cape racing lost, I would guess, over 200 horses. This has had a huge impact on our field sizes.
    Let’s meet. Bring your arguments (for want of a better word) and we will maybe enlighten you with what guides us in our decisions. Hopefully we all walk away enlightened for the betterment of Cape and national racing.
    I await your call.


    Well, a general thumbs up to Eric Sands for putting a real name behind real comments and additionally, be willing to engage others on this website.

    These types of gestures go a long way to mending perceptions about racing’s ‘own bubble mentality’ & crumbled communications with the racing public at large.

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