Digging for diamonds

Kimberley 19 September

Miller double. Rising star JP Van Der Merwe rode a great double today.

Two of the best kept secrets, or ‘good things’, won at Kimberley on 19 September. The respective winning trainers of both the 25-1 Theed in the first race and the 20-1 Secret Club in the Pick Six opener said that their charges were strongly fancied. The only problem for most of us is that we only learnt that in the post-race interviews.Pity!

Leon Lotz, trainer of Secret Club who won the fourth race, actually declared that he felt that the  gelded son of Fan Club’s Mister was a ‘good thing’ and he made a fair point when expressing his puzzlement at the money coming for his stable companion, My Castle, who ran unplaced.

Lotz said that Secret Club had only recently arrived from his former trainer, and owner, Terry Lowe in good condition and that he had been informed that he had produced work ‘better than a maiden’ up North. He was most gracious in his praise of the gelding’s former trainer and even jockey Donovan Yeo was all smiles after being given the necessary ‘confidence’ by his trainer. Not a bad ‘good thing’ at all this at 20-1 from a 16 draw and punters would have been thankful for Pick Six couplings. As for the money that poured on the former Carl Burger trained moderate My Castle. That is really even more puzzling than the good thing that won. But Lotz did say: “If only somebody would just phone and ask…!”

The charismatic and colourful Hollywood sponsored Cliffie Miller quipped after the 25-1 shot Theed had won the first race that the horse was now trained by the ‘better Miller’ –  a humorous reference to the Daylami filly’s former trainer, KZN based Mike Miller. The Kimberley Miller said that she had shown good sand work and that he had expected her to go close – and that she certainly did, with jockey Marco Van Rensburg putting daylight between his filly and a moderate bunch.  

Cliff hanger? Marco Van Rensburg rode the Cliffie Miller double today.

She was the first leg of a double on the day for the combination and Royal Hero was a deserving winner of the final leg of the jackpot, an MR66 Handicap over 1400m. The former James Goodman bred and trained son of Salaadim has blossomed at the age of six since arriving in Kimberley. This was his second win from five sand starts that includes two seconds and a third placed cheque. He kept going in resolute fashion to beat King’s Liberty from the Vernon Rugg yard, who had an uncharacteristically quiet day. Cash The Cheque caught the eye in fourth spot, after losing many lengths at the start and storming through. His form is diabolical to say the least, but he may be worth watching.

Trainer Shaun Miller has apparently dissolved his partnership with PE trainer Martin Cohen and celebrated a treble on the day – two of which were ridden by the talented JP Van Der Merwe. Miller’s first winner on his own was the popular PA banker, Ed’s Angel, in the third race. This horse is a revelation on four legs and is another horse who has turned the corner since arriving in the Northern Cape. She won her fourth race from six starts in under two months. That is not bad going for a filly who arrived here as a battling maiden after 23 runs!

Miller and Van Der Merwe also won the final event on the card when the six year old Windrush mare Shopping Paradise won an overdue second race when sweeping forward from wide out to beat Celtics Clash and the longshot Ship’s Lantern, who recovered miraculously from a slow start. It was a meritorious win from the draw in this MR62 Handicap and she could pay to follow.

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