Winning Form’s South African champion jockey Warren ‘Wagga’ Kennedy partners Paul Peters’ lightly raced Sworder Street in Sunday’s Listed Michaelmas Handicap at Hollywoodbets Greyville.
Warren says that his mount is a ‘progressive stayer’ and must rank a major runner in the weekend’s only stakes feature.
The champion jockey is holding fourth position on the national log as we wind our way to the end of the first quarter of the new term.
After Wednesday’s KZN meeting, Warren (24 winners) was 17 behind Lyle Hewitson, with East Cape champion Greg Cheyne on 33, and the in-form S’manga ‘Bling’ Khumalo, enjoying a flying start after a dull few seasons, on 32 in third.
Warren tells us that he is determined to defend his hard-earned title with vigour.
“Last season I came out the blocks flying and hit a high momentum early on. This season my Gauteng and KZN yards have not hit top gear yet and I haven’t been riding in the Eastern Cape. So given the circumstances, I’m not unhappy with the state of play. The horses will start turning soon and then we will be in the mix,” he added confidently.
Warren conceded that there was no pressure on him in the early part of last term.
“I was the hunter and I was really going great guns. This season I am wearing the crown and there are some top-class jockeys, including past champions, looking to take it back. It’s early days yet, but they will have to fight for it as I’m definitely not giving it to them on a silver tray,” he laughed.
The happy gurgling of Warren’s almost 17 month old daughter Jamie can be heard in the background as he chats to us.
“Chasing the title takes a lot out of family life. I leave when Jamie’s asleep and get home when she’s asleep. So I have worked hard on putting in quality time when I get the chance. They grow up quickly – and I’m determined not to miss out,” he adds.
Warren partners the Cheveley Stud-bred Judpot gelding Sworder Street, who won his maiden beating subsequent Gr1 SA Derby hero Out Of Your League by nine lengths back in September 2019.
“His return run after a year break was a fair effort. He can only strip fitter on Sunday and while inexperience and the trip may be factors against him, he is a smart stayer in the making and could well be good enough,” says Warren.
Justin Snaith’s year older Crown Towers has to give the Gauteng raider 9,5kgs but has shown his class with some reasonable showings in stronger company. The 2020 Listed Jet Master Stakes winner could be the Snaith’s first serious off-season feature prospect out of their new Summerveld satellite base.
The Listed Michaelmas Handicap is run at 15h30 on Sunday.
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