“In a small field, a genuine pace is always a concern. But all things being equal, if Hot Ticket runs to his ability, he is the horse to beat,” said trainer Dean Kannemeyer when taxed on the prospects of his Silvano gelding in today’s R400 000 Gr2 Track & Ball Derby to be run at Scottsville. Hot Ticket is also surely the horse with the best individual Derby record in history.
Gold Circle took the plunge in 2014 when amending the conditions of their classic and opening it to all ages.
This opened the door for Hot Ticket’s unprecedented association – he was narrowly beaten by Silvano’s Jet over 2400m in 2013 , won the race easily as a 4yo last term when run over 2500m, and is back for his double this year –over 2400m at Scottsville.
He is rated to win it at the weights and is looking to secure his Vodacom Durban July place with a forward showing.
He has just returned from a six month break and is on the up again.
“His wind op was a major success. He doesn’t even make a murmur of a noise after his work – a sign that the tie back worked. He is in prime condition after two impressive mile pipe openers – he ran just off Saturday’s impressive feature winner Saratoga Dancer and then just 3,25 lengths off Futura in a Pinnacle Plate – and as a seasoned campaigner I have every confidence that he will cope with the Scottsville circuit,” says Kannemeyer.
Kannemeyer also saddles the 3yo Master James, a son of Jet Master he labels an up-and-coming sort with plenty of ability.
“Fred (Crabbia) has a lovely horse on his hands and he has won thrice over a mile. Being out of a sprinter miler mare, we may look like we are stretching things running him over this trip. He gives the feel though of a horse that will stay on in time, and while out of it at the weights with the older horses, it is a small field – and he is jumping out of his skin,” he said.
Master James beat Saturday’s KZN Winter Challenge 1600 runner-up Translunar at his last start.
Anton Marcus jumps aboard Disco Al for Joey Ramsden.
The son of Captain Al is a dual Algoa Cup winner (on both surfaces interestingly) and stays well.
He caught the eye last time when running on smartly for a 1,25 length second behind Solid Speed in the Lonsdale Stirrup Cup.
He is a kilo better off with Kingston Mines, who was 4,85 lengths behind him in the Lonsdale and looks to hold the De Kock runner.
Justin Snaith saddles two ex-Yogas Govender Plattner owned horses in Krambambuli and French Revolution.
Krambambuli ran on strongly to win his second Champions Season start after being beaten just over 3 lengths by Solar Star in the Listed Sledgehammer.
He finished fourth just under 5 lengths behind Ertijaal in a small field in the Gr1 Investec Cape Derby and looks a decent sort . He still has some ground to make up on Hot Ticket though.
The New Zealand-bred French Revolution is another who will appreciate this test after two pipe openers over shorter.
At his penultimate start he stayed on, although well beaten by It Is Written over 1400m.
He was scratched from this race last year after coughing, and has always looked a forward staying type in the making.
Mike De Kock saddles the Gr2 Caradoc Gold Cup winner Kingston Mines, who has not exactly been himself after his two good wins – the first in the J&B Urban Honey Stayers on Met Day.
His last run when staying on steadily for a 5 length fifth behind Hot Ticket’s stablemate Solid Speed in the Gr3 Lonsdale Stirrup Cup was not the worst effort. He has his first run in the KZN capital city and could improve markedly with the fitment of the blinkers.
Paul Lafferty’s Stronghold gelding Double Clutch ran unplaced behind Dynastic Power in the Betting World 1900 when a 4,15 length twelfth .
He has his first try beyond 2400m and looks likely to relish the extra.
He would need to win well to have any hope of competing for a July berth.
Joey Soma’s Savage Wind stays well and comes in here off a decent second behind Lion’s Emblem at the Vaal last Thursday. He showed his mettle when running a decent fourth behind J’S Outsider in the Gr2 Gold Bowl on Champions Day.
He does have plenty do at the weights at his first Scottsville outing.
It is difficult to oppose a fit Hot Ticket though at the weights, and he looks likely to put his hand up for a July berth with a forward showing to win.