The Eastern Cape-based newsmaking public favourite Atyaab will depart Fairview on Friday morning for another interprovincial giantkilling bid.
And this time he has a score to settle with the Snaith’s Silver Host, who beat him when they met on L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate day three weeks ago.
Zietsman Oosthuizen’s flagbearer Atyaab, running fresh off his WSB Gauteng Summer Cup trip at the end of November in Johannesburg, was beaten 2,25 lengths by Silver Host in the Okapi Gr3 Chairman’s Cup run over 2500m on 9 January.
Back at Kenilworth on Saturday over 300m further in the R200 000 New Turf Carriers Gr2 Western Cape Stayers – and 3kgs better off with his conqueror – Ziets tells the Sporting Post that he is confident of a very big run from his Aussie-bred son of Dundeel, who was previously trained by Mike de Kock, before changing hands when purchased by Suzette Viljoen.
“Everything has fallen into place with his prep and we have a big plan to win this race. SA Champion Warren (Kennedy) rode him last time for the first time and learnt a lot. He isn’t a complicated horse to ride but it helps that a jockey knows the quirks. This is a race that we want to win – it’s effectively a weight for age race, bar one horse, and really should be the benchmark to determine the SA Champion Stayer, given the conditions and distance – rather than the lesser rated races, and mostly handicaps!”
The race is run at base weights for age, with a sex allowance of 2,5 kg for Fillies and Mares, and penalties for Gr1 and Gr2 winners in last 18 months.
Candice Bass-Robinson’s Moon In June won the Gr2 Track & Ball Oaks in July last year, and is the only runner that has attracted a penalty for a Gr1/2 victory.
The year younger Silver Host was well fancied and enjoyed the step up in trip last time. But Ziets isn’t intimidated by big yards in big cities.
“I love and respect the competition but would dearky enjoy to give the Capetonians a thing or two to think about on Met day on their home ground. Attie is in a good place – we have big plans going forward this term, including the Durban July, and this race is one of our early targets.”
Hollywoodbets have Silver Host priced at 11-10, while Atyaab is a generous 13-2.
On the rest of the day, Ziets says that his staunch owner Suzette Viljoen’s Captain’s Ransom is a champion and Pick 6 banker in the Majorca, while Run Fox Run, he believes, is value in the Cape Flying Championship.
“I believe that no wind is forecast and that Anton Marcus will be in the mix on Brett Crawford’s Australian-bred filly Run Fox Run. Celtic Sea is top rank but she enjoys a scrap which brings out her best. I think that she may find it tough to go and fetch Superman in the final stages. In the Cape Town Met, Golden Ducat could be the right kind of versatile and talented horse. African Night Sky can boost the quartet, while Rainbow Bridge is always in the mix. Belgarion is no slouch – I reckon he will round off the quartet. It’s a lovely day of racing!”
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