Powering The Winter

2013 Cape Winter Series

We have had a minor taste of things to come with wet and grey days in Cape Town this week, but there is some excellent heartwarming racing in the Cape in the months ahead, with the 2013 Cape Winter Series offering prize money of R1 350 000 for the 3yo’s.

With the serious action taking place up in KwaZulu Natal and Champions Season dominating the headlines, we are inclined to overlook the fact that some of our best horses of recent times have cut their teeth in the hard knocks school of the competitive Cape Winter Series. And like any self respecting Triple Crown, it takes a really outstanding animal to win all three races.

Pocket Of Winter

Pocket Power

Pocket Power

Two past South African Horses of The Year spring to mind when lovers of the sport of kings discuss this prestigious homebaked series. We have to go back nine years to 2004 when Joey Ramsden’s brilliant Winter Solstice, who was our SA Horse Of The Year in the 2004/2005 season, beat Eric Sands’ Sporting Treble in the first two legs, before being dethroned by his stablemate, the Badger Land gelding Set To Music, to fall at the final hurdle.

On a miserable Cape Saturday in June, Glen Hatt on Winter Solstice looked all over a winner, but had to watch in horror in the final strides as Gerrit Schlechter drove the fast finishing Set To Music up to narrowly collar his stablemate in the Gr3 Winter Derby.

Sporting Treble, in the famous Grande Jete silks, ran third, just ahead of subsequent July winner Dunford! Winter Solstice went on to glory.He won the Queen’s Plate in 2005 and January 2006, amongst other superb Gr1 victories.

Triple Crown Glory

But Mike Bass’ Pocket Power remains the only horse in modern times to win the Cape Winter Series Triple Crown. The remarkable champion, who was SA Horse Of The Year in all of the 2006/7 2007/8 and 2008/9 seasons, won the Winter Series in 2006.

Another Ramsden horse was involved in this little drama, when Silver Mist was runner up to the champion in the first two legs, and was to go on and be pipped by the proverbial nostril in the L’Ormarin’s Queen’s Plate run at the end of December of that year.(The Queen’s Plate was run in January 2006 and December 2006)

It is astonishing to reflect back now just how close Silver Mist came to rewriting history and destroying the legend’s historic run of four Queen’s Plate and three Met wins in the glory years from 2006 to 2010. And the fairytale that is the subject of books and modern racing folklore, had its roots in what we see as the supposed relative obscurity of the Cape Winter Series!

Winter Warmer

Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice

The 2013 R850 000 Winter Series for 3-year-old colts and geldings kicks off with the R200 000 Gr3 Winter Guineas to be run over the Kenilworth Summer Course on Sunday 5 May. The second leg of this prestigious series is the R200 000 Gr3 Winter Classic run over 1800m on the Kenilworth Winter Course on Sunday 2 June.

The series is wound with the running of the R200 000 Gr3 Winter Derby over the testing 2400m of the Kenilworth Winter Course on Saturday 29 June. A bonus of R250 000 is payable to the owner of the horse that wins all three legs of the Winter Series . 5% of the bonus will be paid to the winning trainer and 5% to the winning jockey.

There is no consolation bonus payable. The corresponding series for the fairer sex is the R500 000 Winter Series for 3-year-old fillies and this launches on Sunday 5 May with the R125 000 Listed Sweet Chestnut Stakes run over 1400m. The second leg, the R125 000 Listed Stormsvlei Mile will be run on Sunday 2 June and the series ends with the R125 000 Listed Winter Oaks run over 2200m on Saturday 29 June.

A bonus of R125 000 will be paid to the owner of the horse that wins all three legs of the Winter Series . As in the case of the colt’s equivalent, 5% of the bonus will be paid to the winning trainer and and 5% to the winning jockey.

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