Vaal 3rd March: Thursday’s action took place on the sand where not one favourite was able to find the winner’s enclosure. Indeed, ATONEMENT (23) in the maiden event over 1600m was the nearest we came to a successful market leader, and even she opened at 10/1. Eventually sent off at a half of those odds, Romeo Francis’ charge had been drawn wide and as a result she soon found herself positioned towards the rear. Once in the straight though, she quickened well and although the favourite MAGIC POTION found extra when she loomed alongside 100m from home, Atonement got the verdict by the narrowest of margins.
The biggest upset on the card was recorded by WHITE TIE (62) when landing the MR80 affair over 1450m. Usually seen running on stoutly from off the pace, the son of Martinelli adopted a change of tactics here and raced from the front. He was a length and a half clear throughout and although MIGHTY ASSASSIN ran on well in the closing stages of the event, he didn’t surrender an inch of his advantage.
The Autumn Sand Sprint topped the bill and here we saw a smart performance from the only 3yo in the race CHRSALIS (59). One of fourteen runners taken up to Gauteng by Western Cape based trainer Vaughan Marshall, Chrysalis was soon up handy. He was ridden to lead as they approached the 300m marker and clearly enjoying his first outing on the surface, he cruised clear in the latter stages of the race to beat the useful sand performer SECOND WORLD by five and a half.
HARRY PRINCE again caught the eye running on strongly from well off the pace when fifth in the MR80 Handicap over 1800m.
Captain In Command
Fairview 4th March: The drought of winning favourites continued on Friday with only SCENT OF SPLENDOUR giving relief to punters. Backed into 16/10 from 28/10 at the track, Alan Greeff’s charge was soon in touch with the leaders. She was asked to take up the running shortly after passing the 300m marker and after quickly going clear she easily accounted for HIGH MASS by three and a quarter.
The afternoon’s feature event was the listed Lady’s Pendant over 1200m and here a bit of an upset was to be had when CAPTAIN’S COVE landed the spoils. The third of four winners on the card for trainer Justin Snaith, Captain’s Cove was taken straight to the front by Wayne Agrella and led throughout. She kept on determinedly at the business end of the race and although the unfancied ROXIE HEART (25/1 out to 50/1) finished well from off the pace, she went on to score very cosily by a length and three quarters. Captain’s Cove has now won four of her seven starts since relocating to the Eastern Cape.
The supporting act was a Pinnacle Stakes over 1000m and here all eyes were on the record holder HEAR THE DRUMS. Looking to register his 35th career victory here, Des Mclachlan’s charge got away well when the gates opened and was always positioned very close to the speed. He kept on strongly at the business end of the race and after a thrilling tussle with THUNDER KEY, it was only by a neck that he failed to get the verdict.
Positioned fourteenth of the sixteen turning for home, RAPSCALLION ran on best of all and won the maiden event over 1400m going away by three.
Turffontein 5th March: They raced on the old stand side track on Saturday where the first of the afternoon’s two 1000m listed juvenile events to be run was the Storm Bird Stakes for the boys. The unbeaten CARLITO BRIGANTE was posted favourite and finding good support he eventually left the stalls at 8/10. Carlito Brigante stumbled on leaving the stalls, but despite that was soon up handy. He was just a length behind the eventual winner MIDNIGHT SERENADE (51) when that one took up the running 400m out and try as he might he couldn’t reduce the deficit. Midnight Serenade has now won both starts.
The girls contested the Ruffian Stakes and here we saw a nice performance from the Louis Goosen trained VARIOMETER (42). A very easy winner by four and a quarter in her only previous start, Variometer was soon at the head of affairs. She kept up a healthy gallop throughout and in a time marginally faster than that of the boys, she comfortably accounted for the running on KINEMATIC COUNTESS.
Also worthy of note on this card was the performance of SOUL MASTER (70) in winning the MR80 affair over 1600m. Confidently ridden by Felix Coetzee, Geoff Woodruff’s charge was positioned towards the back end of midfield during the early part of the race. Once in the long home straight though, he quickened best of all and after striking the front 150m from home, he easily drew clear. Soul Master won well and it is interesting to note that KINGS ENTOURAGE who only beat him by a neck last time out, also won on this card.
Racing in the rear after being squeezed at the start, EXTROADINAIRE was then disadvantaged by a slipped saddle. She was running strongly at the finish and taking everything into account she did very well indeed to get within a length and a half of the unbeaten winner Variometer.
Durbanville 5th March: VARIETY CLUB was the best bet on the card for most at the country course on Saturday and although he didn’t win in the manner that one might have expected, he did nonetheless do the business. Sent off at the prohibitive odds of 1/7, Joey Ramsden’s charge was always positioned close to the speed. He put his head in front 200m from home, but with the pacemaker MARVELLOUS CAPTAIN rallying gamely once headed, it was only close home that he began to assert his authority.
The afternoon’s feature event was a MR94 Handicap over 1200m and here we saw another smart performance from the up and coming SPLASH GOLD. Soon into stride, Dean Kannemeyer’s charge was always handy. He was ridden to lead as they approached the 200m marker and asked to do no more than was necessary on the run to the line, he comfortably accounted for the all out ABINGTON by three quarters. Splash Gold has now won five of his nine starts to date and is clearly very useful.
The lucky last was a MR70 Handicap over 2000m and here we saw a nice performance from the recent maiden winner RIGHT AND READY. The last of three winners on the card for trainer Joey Ramsden, the well supported Right And Ready (2/1 into 12/10) raced fourth for most of the journey. She didn’t get the clearest of runs when the race began in earnest, but once seeing daylight she quickened well. She struck the front close home and went on to win quite a bit more easily than the official winning margin of a length would suggest.
The well supported newcomer SHEDRIVESMECRAZY (4/1 into 33/10) ran on well from off the pace to win the Juvenile Plate over 1000m.
Top speedratings for this weekend include:-
Race 1: (2) Special Academy 6
Race 2: (6) Rain King 80
Race 3: No qualifiers
Race 4: No Qualifiers
Race 5: (14) Irish Cowboy 42
Race 6: (11) Swarming 50
Race 7: (7) Hunters Green 62
Race 8: (5) Resume 46
Race 9: (9) Beach Flight 37
Race 1: No Qualifiers
Race 2: (1) Sugarformyhoney 32 (NAP**)
Race 3: (5) Man At Arms 21
Race 4: (1) Wind Speed 14
Race 5: (2) Irish Time 44
Race 6: (6) Warwickadale 45
Race 7: (9) Beaches 87
Race 8: (17) Rhode 51
Race 1: (14) Zambucca 1
Race 2: (11) Verbatim 12
Race 3: (9) Georgian 18
Race 4: (4) Super Boy 32
Race 5: (4) Mannequin 83
Race 6: (6) Floating Feather 70
Race 7: (15) Watchful 80
Race 1: (2) Fire Burning 6
Race 2: (1) Liam 18
Race 3: (3) Santorina 14 (NAP*)
Race 4: (4) Chosen Kid 4
Race 5: (6) Bluemambo 63
Race 6: (10) Single Line 46
Race 7: (6) Mombasa 67
Race 8: (9) Janka 51
Race 1: (8) Tony’s Tipple 16
Race 2: (1) Skyblade 16
Race 3: (12) Fortnums 1
Race 4: (3) Laughing River 64
Race 5: (6) Speed For Gold 91
Race 6: (1) Bedloe’s Island 77
Race 7: (7) Beat Patrol 67 (EW)
Race 8: (1) Junk Yard Kid 50 (EW)
Top rated winners last week included:-
Richinstyle won 8/1
Surfing Safari won 75/20
Naughty Girl won 33/10
Copperloochee won 5/2
Let It Be won 5/2
Una Aura won 16/10
Gracie Jones won 15/10
Variety Club won 1/7
Chrsalis (V Marshall, Gauteng)
Rapscallion (J Snaith, E-Cape)
Right And Ready (J Ramsden, W-Cape)
Splash Gold (D Kannemeyer, W-Cape)
(Shown in brackets is the number of races run in each category)
Vaal 3rd March
Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (4) Raise The Bar
Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (4) White Tie
Fastest Long 1900-3600 (0) No Qualifiers
Fairview 4th March
Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (5) Thunder Key
Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (2) Rapscallion
Fastest Long 1900-3600 (1) Scent Of Splendour
Turffontein 5th March
Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (3) Variometer
Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (3) Kings Entourage
Fastest Long 1900-3600 (3) Surfing Safari
Durbanville 5th March
Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (5) Uncle Tommy
Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (1) Song Of Camden
Fastest Long 1900-3600 (2) Right And Ready