Trainer Garth Puller sent out the Jet Master gelding Air Patrol to win the topliner at Clairwood this afternoon. A substantial pull in the weights and a mature ride by apprentice Mandla Ntuli made all the difference, as he beat the smart King Neptune in impressive style.
The favourite Parker became one paced late in the race, and faded out to a modest fourth.
Garth Puller continued his excellent form by saddling the winner of the MR 94 Divided Handicap run over 1900m.
With Anthony Delpech stood down earlier, Anton Marcus took the ride on the Lundy’s Liability gelding Parker, who was installed a weak favourite.
Formerly with Justin Snaith, and now trained by Paul Lafferty out of Summerveld, the 4yo was confidently taken to the front from the jump by Marcus.
Turning for home, he continued to gallop from King Neptune, with William Conquest and Live Controversy further back.
It was obvious that Parker was under serious pressure 300m out as Cormack sent the handsome King Neptune for home.
But neither had reckoned on the lurking presence of the lightly weighted Air Patrol.
The lightly raced 5yo swept forward up the centre of the track under apprentice Mandla Ntuli and powered on to win by 2,75 lengths in a time of 112,82 secs.
King Neptune, who had looked so dangerous inside the final 300m, stayed on well for second.
Frank Robinson’s Great Rumpus ran on well for third, to deny the one paced 28 to 10 favourite Parker, who had drifted towards the rail under the urgings of Anton Marcus late in the race.
Air Patrol was registering his third win, with 5 places, from 15 starts. He took his stake earnings to R179 060.
He was bred by Patricia Devine and is by Jet Master out of the four time winning Goldmark mare, Spirit Of the Dance.
The Clairwood Pick 6 paid a healthy R230 659,80
The substantial difference in the Pick 6 pools between the Western Cape and the KwaZulu Natal meetings, were a feature of an entertaining afternoon’s racing.
The Cape meetings generally appear to struggle against Gauteng and KZN meetings, and punter preference was illustrated in the respective Pick 6 pools today.
In quite a rare occurrence, two local midweek meetings were offered.
The Durbanville meeting was an add on to make up for some of the losses incurred by Cape connections during the shocking recent winter weather that buffeted the province.
While the Cape meeting was made up of eight races, versus the nine of Clairwood, this would not have impacted on the Pick 6.
A total of 62 horses ran over the six legs at Durbanville for a net pool of R519 391.
Gross stakes paid for the exotic bet legs amounted to R351 000.
A total of 75 horses ran over the six legs at Clairwood for a net pool of R907 403.
Gross stakes paid for the exotic bet legs amounted to R446 000.
Whatever one makes of those figures, punters vote with their hard earned rands.
On Saturday with two nice features in each centre, Durbanville enjoyed a net Pick 6 pool of R902059,46, while Turffontein netted R1 564 114,24.