Hollywoodbets Greyville 25th August: A MR98 Handicap over 1400m topped the bill on the poly track on Sunday and in what not surprisingly proved to be the faster of the two races over the distance, we saw a smart performance from the Master Of My Fate gelding MASTAGAMBIT. Now a winner of three from seven, Dennis Drier’s charge raced seventh of the eight for most of the journey. He quickened best of all in the short home straight and with the rest well beaten he got up late to beat the front running STREAM AHEAD going away.
Three of the afternoon’s eight races were staged over 2000m and stopping the clock in the fastest time amongst these was SAMSONITE when winning the MR85 Handicap. In the rear turning for home, the son of A P Arrow quickened well at the top of the straight and in what proved to be a real thriller he got the verdict over GIBRALTAR GREEN by a quarter of a length. The runner up also came from the rear and after having to switch 300m out, his rider dropped the rein late on.
The only other distance to stage more than one race was 1200m where quickest home was TRIPPLE EXPLOSION in the MR70 Handicap. Swiftly guided over from a wide draw by Musi Yeni Tripple Explosion raced handy in second. He put his head in front going through the 400m and just held on by the narrowest of margins from his fellow 6yo GREAT DICTATOR .
Always top of the boards, BLONDE BABE won the opening maiden plate for the girls over 1000m easing down by a length and three quarters.
Back On Track
Durbanville 27th August: Three of the eight races at the country course on Tuesday were run over 1250m and in the fastest of these, we saw a smart performance from the lightly raced 4yo MUSHI STEREK. After winning impressively by five on debut, something was clearly amiss when not persevered with last time out. Clearly back on track now though, this daughter of Stratum again made all and won with some in hand by two and a quarter.
The only other distance to stage more than one race was 1400m where the faster of the two was not surprisingly the MR90 Handicap in which the Sail From Seattle filly VOMANDLA caused an upset. Allowed to drift right out to 16/1 from 17/2 at the track, Andre Nel’s charge was soon positioned close to the speed. She was ridden to lead shortly after passing the 300m marker and kept on strongly late to beat the luckless FAYE by a half. The runner up didn’t find the clearest of passages and finished well.
A maiden plate over 1600m had opened up the meeting and here the Justin Snaith trained SILVER HOST won in eye catching fashion. In touch throughout, this 3yo son of Silvano was forced to switch 400m out. He showed a very nice turn of foot over the final 100m though and won going away by a length from his marginally more fancied stable companion WINTER IS OVER.
The well-supported 3yo LARENTINA didn’t find the clearest of passages at the business end of the maiden plate for the girls over 1400m, but despite that, she won by a length and a quarter with some in hand.
Poorly drawn MACTHIEF came from the back when comfortably accounting for a useful looking field in the MR77 Handicap over 1250m.
Not Such A Surprise
Hollywoodbets Scottsville 28th August:
As is often the case in Pietermaritzburg the distance of 1200m took the lion’s share of the races. A MR104 Handicap was the fastest of the four and here it was nice to see the 5yo joint top weight FILIPPO gain just reward for his consistency. Now a winner of five from 22, the son of Toreador raced in the rear early on. He quickened well from halfway and after striking the front 250m from home, he kept on strongly late to beat the rallying favourite CABO DA CRUZ by a quarter of a length.
After losing out by the narrowest of margins at Hollywoodbets Greyville just three days earlier, GREAT DICTATOR was sent off favourite to win the MR68 Handicap over 1000m and he duly landed the odds. Always handy, the 6yo Great Britain gelding was ridden to lead 150m out and won well by a half.
A maiden plate for the girls over 1400m brought the meeting to a close and here the column’s top rated selection LINNGER LONGER caused a major upset. Freely available at 50/1 on the off, this poorly drawn Linngari mare was soon well positioned by Deon Sampson. She took up the running 200m out and just held on by the narrowest of margins from the rallying pacemaker CLASS OF EIGHT.
Positioned fifteenth of the sixteen for most of the journey, the lightly raced BRASS BELL was flying at the finish when a 2,5 length runner up in the opening maiden plate over 1200m.
A Merry Dancer
Vaal 29th August: Trainer Paul Peter has been in devastating form of late and with four of the six runners in the opening MR88 Handicap over 2000m here it was no surprise to see him get off the mark early again. What was a surprise though was that the winner DIAMOND DANCER was the lessor fancied of his runners. Taken straight to the front by Callan Murray the 11/1 shot led throughout. He kept on strongly at the business end of the race and comfortably accounted for the favourite (his stable companion) POPSICLE TOES by a length and a half.
The two 1800m races were both maiden handicaps and in by far the faster of these the 25/1 shot MOUNT RAINIER got off the mark. Placed just once in his ten previous racecourse appearances, Stephen Moffatt’s charge raced in midfield during the early part of the race. He ran on well from halfway and in what proved to be a real thriller he got the verdict on the nod over the well-supported second favourite GENTLEMAN’S WAGER.
The graduation plate was the faster of the two 1000m races that brought the meeting to a close and here the lightly weighted 3yo ARISTACHUS registered his second career victory. Set to shoulder just 51kg taking into account apprentice Dicken’s allowance, the Seventh Rock gelding was soon up handy. He was ridden to lead as they approached the 200m marker and kept on strongly late to beat the always handy ALEX THE GREAT by a quarter of a length.
At the back of the twelve 350m out, the Mike De Kock trained newcomer was flying at the finish when only beaten a short head in the maiden plate over 1200m.
Deat-Heat For Spring
Turffontein 31st August: Run in a time 4/100th of a second faster than the graduation plate won by ROCKIN RUSSIAN, the maiden plate won by the aptly named STOP FOR NOTHING was the faster of the two 1400m races on Saturday’s card. Freely available at 35/1 on the off Stephen Moffat’s charge was a little slow into stride and raced in the rear early on. He ran on best of all at the business end of the race and got up late to deny the Mike De Kock trained first timer ARNICA MONTANA.
The Gr3 Spring Spree Stakes topped the bill and in what proved to be the fastest of the afternoon’s three 1200m events a dead heat was declared between the well-supported favourite PRINCE OF KAHAL and ANGEL’S POWER. Nicely positioned in second Prince Of Kahal took up the running 300m out. He was joined by Angel’s Power 200m later and after a thrilling tussle below the distance the judge couldn’t separate them.
Four 1600m races made up the afternoon’s fare and in the fastest of these, a MR88 Handicap, the easy to back LONE SURVIVOR registered his sixth career victory. Always handy, the top weight took up the running 150m out and comfortably accounted for the younger MARCH TO GLORY (led 400m) by three quarters.
At the head of affairs throughout, ATOMIC BLONDE quickened nicely over the final 400m when winning the maiden plate for 3yo’s over 1600m with authority by six.
Top speedratings for this weekend include:-
Race 1: (1) Natural Jade 21
Race 2: (1) Speechmaker 12
Race 3: (1) Alphabet Street 38
Race 4: (1) At The Office 20 (NAP**)
Race 5: (6) Finley Hill 33
Race 6: (5) Ollivander 62
Race 7: (10) Noble Duke 46
Race 8: (8) Ladysmith 29
Race 1: (6) Clock Stopper 25
Race 2: (3) Port Key 32
Race 3: (3) Touch Of Fate 21
Race 4: (4) Live By Night 21
Race 5: (4) Maroon Bells 15
Race 6: (10) Emerald Bay 37
Race 7: (1) Schippers 81
Race 8: (5) Strikeitlikeamatch 49 (EW)
Race 9: (4) Premier Show 65
Race 1: (3) Bollinger 6
Race 2: (12) What A Lover 15
Race 3: (6) Double Reward 5 (NAP*)
Race 4: (3) Viva Rio 19
Race 5: (4) Waiting For Rain 64
Race 6: (4) Captain Tatters 40
Race 7: (3) Nasty Harry 61
Race 8: (6) Howl 37
Hollywoodbets Greyville (sun)
Race 1: (5) Quant Master 26
Race 2: (1) Dickens 32 (NAP**)
Race 3: (9) Frozen Tune 41
Race 4: (9) Into The Groove 38
Race 5: (3) Kinsky’s Crusade 42
Race 6: (9) Prince Of Venice 40
Race 7: (5) Pantsula 45
Race 8: (1) What A Thrill 24
Top rated winners last week included
Linnger Longer won 50/1
Diamond Dancer won 11/1
Statute won 33/4
Samsonite won 15/4
Blonde Babe won 53/20
Princess Penelope 51/20
Perfect Air 49/20
Maidens Prayer won 9/20
Larentina (A Sands, W-Cape)
Macthief (B Crawford, W-Cape)
Mastagambit (D Drier, KZN)
Silver Host (J Snaith, W-Cape)
The number of races run over each distance is shown in brackets
*Denotes – Times taken by Clockwatcher
Greyville (poly) 25th August
Course Variant: 0,33s slow
1000m (1) Blonde Babe 57,97
1200m (2) Tripple Explosion 69,89
1400m (2) Mastagambit 82,16
2000m (3) Samsonite 120,76
Durbanville 27th August
Penetrometer 22 – Going Good
Course Variant: 0,41s slow
1250m (3) Mushi Sterek 73,97*
1400m (2) Vomandla 84,66*
1600m (1) Silver Host 99,34*
1800m (1) Elusive Fortune 111,65*
2400m (1) Metropolitan 159,96*
Scottsville (inside) 28th August
Penetrometer 22 – Going Good
Course Variant: 1,03s slow
1000m (1) Great Dictator 57,50
1200m (4) Filippo 68,85
1400m (1) Linnger Longer 85,02
1600m (1) Statute 96,02
2400m (1) Before Noon 151,49
Vaal (classic) 29th August
Penetrometer 21 – Going Good
Course Variant: 0,78s slow
1000m (2) Aristachus 56,75
1200m (1) Sambuca 71,00
1500m (1) Princess Penelope 91,13
1600m (1) Lake Kinneret 94,85
1800m (2) Mount Rainier 109,53
2000m (1) Diamond Dancer 123,36
2400m (1) Gold Griffin 150,52
Turffontein (inner) 31st August
Penetrometer 21 – Going Good
Course Variant: 2,02s slow
1200m (3) Prince Of Kahal/Angel’s Power 71,78
1450m (2) Stop For Nothing 90,66
1600m (4) Lone Survivor 98,84